There are a lot of misnomers regarding prayer. Such a simple thing—a heart response to life in continual conversation with God—is twisted from technique to buzzword, from jargon to mystification; most are left confused, scratching their heads.
“When you pray, rather let your heart be without words than your words be without heart.”
But, prayer is also deceiving because we can very easily ask for less than God wants to give us, although the opposite manifestation is overtly popular. This has been perfectly illustrated recently for us in looking for another home. Knocked back on the “perfect” rental several weeks ago we were rocked with doubting faith thinking our plans might never work out. Yet, I always felt God’s still voice was saying, ‘I have something better in mind—please be patient.’
We pray our prayers unceasingly at times, and when we’re not praying we’re worrying ourselves out of that longer life on offer if we’d only desist from stressing. We see life but through a glass darkly now, but fullness of vision will come (1 Cor. 13:12). Prayer is testament to this fact; the discernment of God’s will and the power to do same, at least to the best of our ability, now.
Prayer is hence not what we think it is for the most part. People ask God for things they want and they also ask him to save them from things they don’t want, but they rarely ask God to mould them into the image and traits of his Son, Jesus Christ, via our responses to the ordeals of life. This is the purpose of prayer—that we might ask him for a stronger heart, mind, body and soul, so we could achieve his will, for the glory of God.
The long and the short of it regarding our house was that we ended up with a better home in a better location with a better timeline for moving. In almost every department we’re more “blessed” the way it eventually worked out. Is this an answered prayer? Perhaps. Perhaps not. God has had his way and that’s all that counts really. His requirement of us—which at times we failed him on—was simply to remain patient, not doubt so much, and simply serve his will. It has little to do with our requests. Requests are hardly the point.
We all have our views on prayer. Some have strong views, others indifferent. The main thing is we obey God by simply having the right heart and focus on him rather than the eloquent and silky words of theology in our prayer.
Our heart’s praise and seek God best without words. In all things that happen, we attribute the role of God for allowing same; ours is wholly and solely response. We do this as believing God’s in control and taking us where he wishes to take us. In this, we accept.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.