I'd like to write about topic, that is not often discussed, and which is actually the cause of many problems. The topic of this article are our prayers, whether they're answered or unanswered, and most importantly, what is our attitude when it comes to prayers.
I don't want to discuss the basic informations concerning prayers, as I would much rather focus on our expectations and consequences of our answered or unanswered prayers by God. This is the matter of our own personal prayers, as well as the prayers we pray in our Christian communities. Misunderstanding of this subject brings pain, and dissatisfaction into our relationship with God and quite often it is a reason for the loss of faith.
During approximately quarter of a century since my conversion, I was a witness and also a participant of many gatherings with purpose of praying, including prayers followed by fasting. The usual practice is, that if for example someone in the community happened to be diagnosed with cancer, multiple sclerosis, or any other serious problem, people in the Christian community will agree to pray together, usually accompanied by saying a motto such as: “Until God won't perform a miracle!!!” and this is a real problem.
In this moment, we're not actually leaving a space for God's will. We just simply want for God to save someone, heal someone, resurrect etc. We keep on reminding to ourselves and to people around us, of all those Jesus's promises about “fulfilled prayers” about faith, praying together etc. We want to compel God to act. But this has nothing to do with trust, relationship, humbleness, learning to submit to God's will. Actualy, we just want our prayers to be “stronger” than God's will.
The consequences of misunderstanding the principals are very serious. Try to look at it from God's point of view. When for example some people gather for purpose of praying or praying and fasting, and God will make a miracle, people take it as a verification of their conviction, that important is only the fact, how many people, how intensive and how long, will they pray and with this attitude, they will treat the next praying session.
If God won't answer to the prayer (whether a personal one, or that of a few), many people will see it as a confirmation of that, that there is no reason to pray, that God doesn't care, that it is a waste of time. Many people will see the unanswered prayer as an affirmation of that God doesn't love them. And there also will be people, who will “turn away from God” because of this.
The unanswered prayer is not a proof of our small faith, neither it is a sign that there is something wrong with us, that God doesn't love us, or that he completely wrote us off. Equally, the fulfilled prayer isn't a confirmation of us being perfect, that our theology is faultless, but it is more likely to be the proof of God's love.
Please try to understand: “Technically, for God, everything is possible and there is nothing He can't do”. But “NO” is also an answer. We don't understand, that if God, in some case, gave us what we want from Him, it could hurt us, or even bring us to our own destruction. Gaining the ability to see for a blind person can mean such a change, that in the end it can cost him the loss of “everlasting life” Also, perhaps that motorcycle, you prayed for, can cost you “life”. The main God's priority is for us to end up in His kingdom.
Whether it is a gathered praying session, or a personal prayer, we always need to search for (and respect) God's will. We need to understand and admit, that we have no idea about all the connections and the possible effect of our fulfilled prayers on our life. We also need to acknowledge God's sovereignty, when it comes to our own life – not only the life of others.
Good example for us can be Lord Jesus Christ. When the apostles asked him, how they should pray, he told them among other things, that they should pray for God's will to be done – as in Heaven, so on Earth. Jesus not only taught this, but he himself, lived by it. For example, in the situation shortly before his crucifixion, when he knew, what awaits him, when his life was on the line, he managed to tell God:
Mt 26,39-42: O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will. And He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, What? Were you not able to watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, that you not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.
It's easy for a person to say, when his life (or that of some of his relatives and loved ones) isn't threatened. And right in these worst situations, it will show where do we stand, how big is our trust to our Heavenly Father.
Our right attitude while praying should be similar to the example given by the Lord Jesus. We should say something like: ”God, the Father, if it is possible, please in the name of your Son, Lord Jesus of Nazareth, for the health (deliverance, salvation..) .. but not as I will, but as You will.
God is really good, despite the fact that he won't answer every single prayer according to our wish.
What do you think?
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