Prayer to our heavenly Father, about our lives and those of our loved ones, it seems as simple as talking to Him sometimes and utterly complex at others. Does it matter what words we use? Does He hear and answer all our prayers? If we’re honest with ourselves, we may have indirectly or directly thought or asked these questions over our journey of faith…or maybe just yesterday!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
God loved us so much that He sent His son to make a way for us to have eternal life and to have a relationship with our Father, and sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. These are not the actions of a distant God that needs to be reminded that we exist, or one that is indifferent to us unless we ask Him just right. These are the actions of a Father who has dibs on us and wants us to spend our eternal life with Him.
So if God is with us and hears all our prayers and is not indifferent to us, then does He answer all of them? Yes, He does answer, but the answer is often not the one we were asking for…the answer could be “Yes”; however, it could also be some form of “No”, “Wait”, or something in between.
As children, when we went to our parents with something we wanted, we wanted the answer to be “Yes”, and when we pray to our heavenly Father we pray with the hope that God will answer us in the way that we’re asking Him to. We often asked for things that seemed good to us, but that our parents knew was harmful, or even if it was a good thing overall, it wasn’t good for us at that time in our lives. It must be like that for our heavenly Father, who is all knowing and knows each of us much better than we even know ourselves, so that when we pray to Him, the answer could not always be “Yes”.
So if God isn’t going to always answer our prayers in the way that we ask, what can we expect to happen as a result of our prayers? Why should we pray if we know the answer could be “No”? What difference does prayer make?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 6-7
This is one of my favorite scriptures, because it reminds me that we do not have to be worried about anything, because we can pray to our heavenly Father and experience the peace of God. This scripture does not promise that all our prayers will be answered “Yes”, but it does say that if we bring our requests to God, He will bring peace into our hearts and minds, and that kind of peace is worth seeking.
This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ Matthew 6: 9-13