Do you ever just not pray because you don’t know what to pray? Are you ever just tired of praying the same thing over and over again, so you opt to stop praying? Do you sometimes feel like there’s more you should pray, but you don’t even know how?
Understand your prayers aren’t a magic formula for access to God. Prayer is simply a conversation between you and your Creator. And your conversations with God allocate his power.
Think of it like this … have you ever seen one of those little laser pointers that will shine a colored light in the direction you point it? Yeah, well that’s what your prayers do … they shine God’s light in the direction you point them.
I John 5:14 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
Do you have confidence when you talk to God? Do you know that he not only hears you, but he wants to hear you? But wait, this scripture says if we ask anything according to his will, then he hears us. Have you ever realized you asked for something that wasn’t in God’s will? I have. Looking back I’ve prayed all sorts of crazy prayers that seemed perfectly reasonable at the time, but wow, what I would have missed if God would have said yes back then. But you know what else I would have missed … I would have missed God’s sovereignty if I wouldn’t have prayed those prayers.
Even though the answer was no, it did me good to pray so I could understand the will of my Father better. If I would have never asked, I would have never known he had better for me.
Raising my own kids, I remember we went through a stage of them saying the most ridiculous things. They were confused and frustrated, and totally said things they didn’t mean and didn’t even understand. Things like “just let me starve”, or “leave me at the gas station”, or “I wish I was never born”, or “I would rather live with anyone but you”, or “let me have a monkey.” Girl, you don’t even know! So, as their loving mother, sometimes I would pretend I didn’t even hear them. It wasn’t me ignoring them, it was me being gracious to them.
That leaves me to wonder if sometimes when we ask God ridiculous things that would sidetrack us from his best plans for us, he just acts like he doesn’t hear us. He just lets that slip. He doesn’t stop to reprimand us, he knows we were just having a moment of temporary insanity not even understanding what a fine mess of our lives our requests would create, and it’s as if he never even heard it.
Don’t you know God hears EVERYTHING. He is in all places at all times. Nothing just slips by him. But when we ask things that aren’t in alignment with his best plans for us, it’s as if he never even hears us. That’s for our benefit, not his. If God didn’t hear, it’s not because he’s not capable. It’s not because he’s far away from you. It’s for no other reason than it’s out of alignment with his ultimate good will, and he’s going to let that just pass.
We can get stuck in not knowing what to pray and when to pray it, so fearful we might ask for something that would be out of God’s will … but God takes care of the sorting. If it fits, then he hears it and acts. If it doesn’t fit, he acts like he didn’t even hear it and keeps working on your behalf. So girl, pray it. Talk to him about it. That never screws this up … what screws this up is you doing things without talking to him first.
What happens when you talk to God first? Well read the next verse. 1 John 5:15 “And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”
When God hears our requests for the things that do align with his best plans, boom … he springs into action for us. He makes things happen in 1 day that we couldn’t have made happen on our own in an entire lifetime. For real, you know that thing you’ve been struggling so hard to make come together? That thing that has taken a whole lot longer to work than you ever imagined it would? That thing that continues to just drag on and on? Have you talked to God about it? Have you asked for his supernatural powers to be at work in it? If you have and it continues to take longer than you had hoped, there is purpose in the delay. Breathe. If you haven’t asked, then ding ding ding, that could be your problem, Sis!
God is not a vending machine. We don’t get to punch in B3 and always get Oreos. You don’t need no dang Oreos anyway … God’s gonna act like he didn’t even hear that!
I think back over the ridiculous prayers I’ve prayed in the past. As a teenager I absolutely hated being tall, especially when he made me fall in love with a shorter boy. So, I once prayed that I would shrink overnight and wake up shorter. God acted like he didn’t even hear that one.
I once prayed to win the lottery. The next day we had to hide our car in the garage because the repo man was circling. Now I realize God was preparing me for a jackpot of a life, and I would first need to learn how to gracefully walk through struggle.
I once prayed for 12 children. I wanted a full dozen. God, in all of his divine wisdom knew my 3 would give me a run for my money, and acted like he never even heard that one.
But I’m glad I prayed each one of these prayers. I now see how God’s silence in my request was a true gift to me. His silence has not deterred me from asking, it has reassured me when I ask wrong, he will just let that pass. Isn’t that a gift? He won’t give you everything you ask for, because dang sometimes you ask for the wrong thing. But you can ask anyway.
Remember how I said prayer is like a laser pointer? Your prayer shines God’s light in the direction you point it. Well, what does light do? Light reveals things. Sometimes prayer, even asking for the wrong thing, shines light so we can better see and understand. Sometimes praying over a situation, even when we’re thinking one thing and God’s thinking another, will allow us to see his power at work in ways we would have otherwise missed. Shine that light. Point it in that direction. Your job is to point the light, God’s job is to reveal, move and work.
I read something this week that was like a total light bulb moment for me. I think it will be for you as well. It’s a little story that goes like this:
A grandfather was walking through his yard when he heard his granddaughter repeating the alphabet in a tone of voice that sounded like prayer. He asked her what she was doing. The little girl explained: “I’m praying, but can’t think of exactly the right words, so I’m just saying all the letters, and God will put them together for me because He knows what I’m thinking.”
WOW! Pray all the letters and just trust God to put them together for you.
God will hear that. That’s a prayer of faith. That’s a prayer of complete trust. That’s a prayer of surrender and submission.
Shine his light in that specific direction, then pray “A. B. C. D. E. …..” God, in his divine wisdom of knowing all that has ever been and all that will ever be, will respond by putting those letters in the perfect order for his power to shine brightest.
When you don’t know what to pray… When you’re exhausted from praying the same thing over and over again… When you feel like everything you have been praying has been dismissed… This is what you do … you pray your ABC’s over it. All the letters are there, God will put them in order.
I bet you’ve never dropped to your knees and prayed like this. Why not do it today? In fact, why not just do it now? With me? Some might thing it’s silly, but your Father who is in Heaven is pleased with childlike faith.
Matthew 8: 2-4 “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
What a humbling prayer of childlike faith.
God, A. B. C. D. E. F. G. H. I. J. K. L. M. N. O. P. Q. R. S. T. U. V. W. X. Y. Z.
Now Lord, put all those letters together in alignment with your will. Amen.
You have no idea the power of what you just prayed. He aligned the letters perfectly and his answer is YES. His light is pointed in a divine direction right now in response to your request.