March 24, 2014

An Honest Post About Prayer

I'm going to get real here for a minute. Because I think too often as a Christian, I shove my struggles under a mat and pretend like I'm fine.

But no one ever said living the life of a believer would be easy. Jesus least of all.

So, I realized something about myself recently.

I'm not sure I believe in the power of prayer.

Yes, that sounds blasphemous. What I mean is...I know it's true. But I'm not sure I pray like it's true. I'm not sure in my heart of hearts that I really believe it makes a difference.

And that scares me.

I know there are all sorts of Bible verses and passages about how prayer changes lives, how when two or more are gathered, there the Lord is. I know He listens to our prayers, that it's good for us to pray so we communicate and build a relationship with Him.

I know all that in my head. And I pray, because I love talking to God.

But when it comes to praying for someone to be healed, or for someone's heart to change, or for there to be peace -- I hesitate.

I recently noticed this hesitation in myself and despised it. Because that's not what a Christian should feel, right? We should be offering to pray for others and praying that God would change us.

Here's the thing.

I ABSOLUTELY believe God has the POWER to change lives, to heal people, to ensure peace.

I'm just not sure how me asking for it makes a difference.

I know it does. The Bible says it does. So I believe it to be true (and that's not a blind faith...I've seen it happen).

But...I don't know. I still struggle. I think the root of that struggle is definitely the fact that I'm not naive about things. God will do what he sees is best, even if we don't understand it. He didn't heal my mom from cancer -- his answer to that prayer was no. Why? I don't know. I'm not God.

So it's hard for me to really ask God for something and expect him to change his mind. Because why should my asking for it switch his course of action?

I realize I'm opening myself up to criticism. Again, I'm NOT saying I don't think prayer matters. I know it does. But I still struggle with praying, because I'm still reconciling his purpose for prayer in my own life.

I know many times, the real purpose for prayer is to change us. To bring us closer to him. To remind us who is God and who is not.

I get that, and I keep praying because of it. It's only through communication with my God that I'll ever understand how all of this works anyway.

Your Turn: Have you ever struggled like I do? I'd love to hear a time in your life when you felt prayer made a difference! 

*photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

8 comments:

  1. Thank you for such an honest post! Your honesty really touched my heart; especially your faith in God's miracles regardless of what you ask. I think you nailed the real reason on the head, that prayer is more to change us than him. It lets us understand his will, and gain comfort from it.

    My friend Kyra is a writer, and puts it much better than I ever could. You should read her post on why she prays here: http://goo.gl/wB8M2g. She describes first falling into doubt about prayer, and then realizing it's true purpose as her sister went through cancer treatment. I hope you enjoy it.

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    1. Thanks so much for that post. I'll have to check it out!

      "It lets us understand his will, and gain comfort from it." Yes. 100% agreed.

      Thanks so much for visiting and commenting today, Lauren!

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  2. Linz, I so appreciate your transparency. I've struggled with prayer, especially during a dark season in my life. I've struggled with the feeling of utter insignificance in the light of huge circumstances and our great-big, sovereign God.

    I think you nailed it in saying that prayer is meant to draw us closer to God. He always answers. Yes. No. Wait. Often my prayers get the "Wait" answer. But, that waiting helps me to depend on Him more.

    Oswald Chambers said something to this effect: Prayer isn't part of the greater purpose. It IS the greater purpose. I have to remember that talking with my Abba is the best thing I can do—for me and for the situation. I've seen Him work in small ways and big ways. When I begin to doubt the power and purpose of prayer, I think on those answers I've seen Him give.

    I truly appreciate your thoughts today. They resonated!

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    1. It's so nice to know I'm not the only one who has ever struggled with this. Love your insights, friend...and that quote from Chambers.

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  3. mmmmm
    yes!
    I totally relate!!! I always say, "I know God CAN do it, but often doubt He will". It seems especially so in healing prayers or prayers that really do require a miracle. And yet, I read the OT and the times the prophets begged the Lord and because of the faith of one, many were spared. I tend to make my prayers pretty gut wrenching honest. "Lord, I don't really think you're going to be manipulated or coerced into seeing things my way, but I really need to just jaw this out with You. And You said to ask, so I will, even though my faith is about the size of a minute mustard seed". I've always found much peace in that gutwrenching honesty approach more than coming before God trying to be proper.

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    1. Yes, Jaime, I'm so there! I figure God can handle my gut-wrenching honesty, right?

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  4. Thanks for sharing something so personal, Lindsay! When my best friend since high school died of colon cancer, leaving 4 children behind, I had an internal hissy fit about prayer. What was the point? (not pretty, let me tell you.)

    That was 6 years ago and I can't say that I know the answer to that question, except that I've come to understand that what is between a person's soul purpose and God is sometimes even unknown to the person themselves. Almost like a pact made with the Divine before we were formed in the womb - on a soul level. My friend did not want to leave her family - but I guess she had to. And we may never understand why until we are on the other side.

    Still I do believe in prayer - most especially prayers of gratitude. For even in the darkest of times there are gifts that we receive, and to be grateful for those no matter what is what brings us grace and abundance.

    So I now say a prayer of blessing for you, that you will be blessed with your heart's desire!

    Cheers,
    Sue

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    1. "...what is between a person's soul purpose and God is sometimes even unknown to the person themselves." What a great insight, Susan. Thanks so much for sharing it. And for praying for me! I so appreciate it.

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