“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16b
Last night I made a quick stop at a meeting and mentioned to a friend that someone I had been praying for had her entire life turned upside-down earlier that day. She said she would mention my request when the group prayed, but then off-handedly said to me, “Please don’t pray for our family, we have already been through so much lately.”
The reality of prayer is that it works, but the flip-side of that reality is that prayer works things out to appease God - not us. I think my friend’s fear is common and real. The reality which her thought process brought her to at that moment encapsulates the complete surrender that must come about for prayer to succeed. Prayer succeeds only when our control is lost, our happiness in the tangible is thwarted, our entire way of looking at truth and reality is turned upside down, and when the only end product of each answered prayer brings glory to God alone. It is then from these prayers we see God work into our lives His control, His joy, and His promotion of us in His kingdom.
Does that mean we must give up praying for our desires? No not at all. But, we must be careful that the desires we do pray for are in line with God’s will and are led by the Holy Spirit. We must pray in line with the scriptures and with how we see God working in our midst. God loves to answer those types of prayers because they are childlike and prayed out of the wisdom God the Father brings to us not from some self-contrived idea of how the world should be reoriented for things to work out better for our future or the future of those we are praying for.
Every time God answers a prayer I have prayed, not only am I excited to see how He has answered that prayer but I am also amazed at the means He uses to bring about that answer. To be involved in the lives of others by bringing them and their needs before the throne of grace, where Jesus resides, I have to say is the most fulfilling part of my day. As a Christian, prayer should be the most gratifying part of each of our days. Where else can you take part in something so grand that it will last for eternity? You don’t even have to leave your home or make special plans to accomplish this magnificent assignment.
Prayer is not an easy task, but a meaningful one you will never regret having taken time out of your day to carry out. Today I have prayed for each of you who have taken time to read my blog that God may stir a desire in your hearts to join Him in His work around you by praying for those He lays on your heart. And if God leads you to pray for yourself or someone else that may lead to a tough life reorientation, don’t neglect to pray as God is leading you because of the scenarios your mind may lead you towards in thinking of how God will answer that prayer. Instead just pray in childlike faith that God, your Father, has everything planned out already to answer that prayer for the greatest eternal good.