Have you ever doubted the significance of prayer? Have you had the thought that it is meaningless. There are all kinds of reasons for these feelings. For the most part I believe it can be narrowed down to faith. Our faith is shown through our prayer life. Prayer is recognizing that we need help. We need God to act or just know we are here. It is hard to understand why a human stopping to talk to a all-powerful God is special but the Bible tells us so:
Psalm 107:28-30 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.
This is just one example of people crying out to God and God responding. I believe the problem with prayer is the response. Our expectations for the response is out of sync with what God has planned. God’s ways are not our ways but His ways are perfect. Here is one of the ways God has taught me this:
Since I was a little boy I have prayed for the salvation of my Grandparents. I remember night after night praying the same words: Lord, please save grandma and grandpa. In Bible college I sent a note sharing what Jesus did for them and prayed God would use it. When I became a preacher and would preach they would come and hear me to support me as their grandson. I remember always praying God would use my preaching to save them. I believed God would answer my prayers, but His response and how He answered is truly remarkable.
First my grandfather died almost ten years ago. He was in the hospital and I was out of town. A pastor I worked with visited him and said he shared the gospel with him. He was not able to talk so he said if he wanted to believe Jesus as his Savior to squeeze his hand. He said “your grandpa squeezed my hand”. That brought me hope, but there was still doubt. At his funeral the pastor said he was with Jesus and that brought my dad hope, but still I had doubts. I wanted to see for myself grandpa praying. The response I expected was my grandfather on his knees and praying. There is hope that I see my grandfather in heaven one day, but the response was not the fireworks display response I envisioned in my mind.
Last Thursday my grandmother (Granny) went into the hospital. We are still not sure what is wrong with her. She is weak and confused. Sunday my dad texted me Granny prayed for Salvation! Again the doubt started. My response to my dad was: What??? Really. She had always been so hard hearted about those things. I wanted the details. My dad recounted the story and how he shared and how she said she wanted to believe in Jesus and she prayed with Him. After hearing this story and how sick she was I decided to visit her and I also wanted to talk to her myself. I was hoping for a conversation about Jesus. I wanted a sure fire response that she was good before God and one of His children.
I visited granny yesterday. She is weak and confused. We did not talk about much because her need for help in eating and nurses and rest took the majority of our time. I just was there. Inside I wanted more. I wanted her to have a deep discussion about Jesus, proof she believed. As I sat by her bed, as she slept, I again prayed and said God only you know. Once she finally woke up, it was time for us to head home. I sat by her bed and asked her if I could pray for her. I prayed a common prayer I usually pray for those who are in the hospital. “God thank you for granny, help her and be with the doctors and nurses, help them figure out what is wrong, comfort her Lord”. To be honest it was a prayer for prayer sake. Not out of faith or even wanting a response. I asked to pray because that is what I do for people in the hospital. Once I said Amen, I was ready to kiss her goodbye and leave, but something happened to me that has never happened in my life.
My grandma prayed for me. As I watched confused at what she was saying and why she was talking, her eyes wide opened she said: “Lord, thank you for Rob, and Holly and Michael and Mike and everyone else in my family. Amen.” When she finished I was in tears. Granny just prayed for me. I didn’t know what to think. I grabbed her hand and said your prayer means so much to me. She look at me and said I know.
I will never understand God or faith fully. I would of never dreamed praying as a little boy that God would answer my prayers in this type of way. I honestly don’t know what I expected. This simple prayer of Granny calling out to the Lord for me will never be forgotten. I believe God responded to me through my Granny and that prayer. His response amazes me. My faith is now the faith of my father and his father and mother. I am now a third generation child of God. God is faithful.
Are you looking for a certain response from Jesus? Here is the truth. It is not our role to have Jesus do our bidding. Our role is to pray and give our hearts to Him. He will respond in His own way and timing. Are you looking? Are you waiting? That is Faith, believing that He always responds, He always hears and His ways are always pure no matter what those ways are.