“For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we preached among you, Silvanus, and Timothy and I, was not Yes or No; but in Him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. That is why we utter the Amen through Him, to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:19-20
I’ve talked about meditating upon Scripture as an important aspect of prayer in previous posts and these two short texts from 2 Corinthians would be good examples of how we discover insight and joy from such an exercise.
We have all wondered at times where God is when we struggle with pain and disappointment. I know I have prayed many times believing with all my heart that God would hear that prayer and answer according to my request. I felt that I wasn’t trying to twist God’s arm or ask for outrageous things, but was simply bringing heartfelt needs and heavy burdens to Jesus. When God doesn’t answer the way I honestly believed He would I was more than disappointed, I felt somewhat slighted.
Yet, Paul reminds us in these verses that God’s promises are always yes and since the word of God is true the ramifications are humongous. Since God always says yes but I didn’t see my prayers answered in the way that I wanted to see them answered the problem is that I was praying “my will be done,” and not “God’s will be done.”
We need to be clear that talking to God through prayer is a very precious thing and we are privileged to be able to do such a thing. Prayer shouldn’t be something we take for granted, slapping out a few quick requests and petitions before we fall asleep at night. Our prayers should be thought out and have a reason for existing. When you phone a friend up it is usually because you have something to tell her or ask her or simply want to chat because she is your friend. Talking to God is also talking to a friend, but this friend has the power and desire to always say yes to your requests.
What does this mean? Does it mean if we ask for a million dollars we will receive it, or if we ask for someone who is very ill to be instantly healed it will happen? How do we connect the belief that God always says yes and we don’t see that happening in our prayers?
Earlier I stated that I often pray “my will be done,” instead of “God’s will be done.” Now it’s not like I say these words out loud but down deep in my heart it is what I am hoping for and wanting to have happen. I might even be a bit pious in my prayers and end them with “your will be done Father,” but that isn’t what I want to have happen. I want my will done.
I believe the key to prayer is knowing that God always says “yes” but we don’t always see the big picture or the end from the beginning. We can only think in terms of “right now” and not what is best or how we should pray for a certain situation. If it is true that God always says yes then the problem in prayer for most of us is that we don’t ask for the right things.
This is a difficult thing for us to work our heads around. We want so much to simply pray, “God save Aunt Jane from having to go through her operation on Monday,” instead of asking God to be in control of her life and accomplish what is best for her in the present circumstances.
As Christians it is very difficult for us to let go and let God be God. When it comes to salvation we find it odd that we can do nothing to add to the merits of Jesus. It just seems wrong that we can’t do our part to make grace work better and faster and more efficient. To stand passively by trusting in the love and grace of God to bring reconciliation to the Father goes against the grain of our cultural norms. It is the same with prayer, we feel that if we are not guiding Jesus it is as if He won’t help or notice our need.
Charles Price, the pastor of the People’s Church in Toronto, says do we really believe that when we pray it is the first time God has noticed or thought about our situation? Can you picture God saying to the angels, “I didn’t know that, why didn’t someone tell me Aunt Jane is in the hospital, what a great idea her nephew has to heal her, I would never have thought of that?” God knows all and He knows what is best and will always say “yes” to what He knows is the best course of action in regards for our prayers.
God loves us unconditionally and He knows our needs and those of the people we pray for. As Christians we take those needs and requests to God, but we need to leave the outcome of our prayers in His hands. Trusting that His will is always the best way even when we are disappointed with the present reality of how He answers is not easy but it is the way of the cross.
* Many people around the globe are currently experiencing persecution for their faith in God, and many even unto death, for the love of their God. They need our support and prayers. Please take the time to read some of their stories at http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet…