Carol Round: Prayer and the Lessons We Can Learn

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective”—James 5:16 (NIV).

“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the Hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” This quote from Mother Teresa led me to reflect on my own prayer life.

I’ve been struggling for months, actually over a year, with an unanswered prayer. When I say struggling, I don’t mean wrestling with God’s lack of response to my pleas. I’ve heard that still, small voice saying, “Be patient. Wait on me.”

The Holy Spirit’s reply to my prayer is an answer, not just the answer I would like at this time. Waiting on God has reinforced three things I already knew: First, I am learning to be more patient. Second, He is teaching me to trust Him more. Third, God knows best what I need.

Putting Our Faith in His Hands

In Mark 9, a man whose son is demon-possessed approaches Jesus. The father wasn’t fully convinced of Jesus’ power to deliver his son, but he asks anyway. In verse 24, the father says, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

At least the father was being honest. How honest are we when we approach God in prayer? Do we really believe He’ll respond to our requests or do we just “hope” He might have pity on us and respond with a resounding “Yes?”

In a article, author Lori Hatcher writes, “This passage (Mark 9) debunks two of the greatest misconceptions about prayer—that if we have enough faith, God will answer our prayers, and if we don’t, He won’t. Scripture doesn’t support the idea that great faith produces great miracles and small faith prevents them. Instead, God tells us to ask in faith, believing that He can and will answer our prayers in the way He knows is best. Even frightened, tiny, mustard-seed faith like this father had can and does move the hand of God.”

What’s the Bottom Line?

Says Hatcher, “The bottom line is not how much faith we have that matters, but who we have faith in.”

If our faith is in God, then no matter the answer to our prayer, we know He has our best interests at heart. That’s one I struggle with, too. I want to convince God sometimes that what I’ve asked for in prayer is best for me or for a loved one.

Why, when I prayed every morning over several years, did a loved one die from cancer? Why didn’t God heal him or her? Was my faith in God’s ability to heal in question? Should I have asked God “to help my unbelief?”

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SOURCE: Assist News