There’s been a bit of an attack on prayer recently, this meme going around that suggests prayer doesn’t fix anything. Au contraire, prayer fixes everything! Often the best solution is not to “fix” anything ourselves, but to simply pray.
I understand the frustration, the desire for concrete action that might lead someone to say disparaging things about prayer, but praying IS taking action. Prayer does change things. Often prayer itself IS the solution.
I’ve been in a lot of situations where you are just powerless, where there is just nothing you can do BUT to pray. I too have been full of doubt and quite skeptical, but prayer works, it opens up a channel, a wi/fi signal to God, as I like to say. It can trigger some Christian team work too, people you don’t even know mysteriously stepping in and showing themselves to be the answer to your prayers.
I can’t tell you how many times I have thought, so how did you even know that is exactly what I needed? There is simply a supernatural form of communication that goes on and prayer unleashes it.
Prayer can also change your own attitude, open your eyes to new solutions, change the entire view from your own window so you begin to perceive the problem differently. Sometimes you just need fresh eyes to perceive old problems in a new way.
There have been numerous studies especially in health care settings that document patients who pray have much better outcomes. Not everyone is always healed, but prayer can reduce pain, create peace in your spirit, and promote healing. Prayer turns out to be healthy for us, good for the mind, body, and spirit, in a way that is scientifically observable.
There’s been a meme floating about that suggests prayer doesn’t stop bullets. Well actually, prayer has done even that. There have been many, many miraculous situations where people should have died and yet they didn’t. Nobody really wants to face a situation like that, but still what kind of person would see someone in a life and death situation and say, you shouldn’t pray, it doesn’t work? Who is foolish enough to suggest that the cure for the dire situations in life is to……renounce your faith in God and refuse to pray?
Tragically there are people running about trying to say exactly that, which is exceedingly cruel and insensitive.
Prayer is powerful and it is also mysterious, miraculous, supernatural, “out there” if you will, beyond our comprehension.
I started taking note of how many of my prayers where being answered and it changed my whole attitude towards prayer. Before that I was very dismissive, disbelieving. You pray desperate prayers in the morning, everything turns out well and your brain just goes, oh so I guess things just weren’t as bad as I thought.
Pray for a cup of coffee and not five minutes later someone rings the doorbell to deliver one and your brain just goes, oh look, a coincidence. This can’t be a miracle, it’s much too small.
That attitude is most impolite, very disrespectful, contemptuous of God even. It is failing to receive His love, the gifts He has provided. You have to cultivate an open heart and an open mind in order to really begin to see the power of prayer.
There’s been some good discussions recently about how we can’t change God’s mind, about predestination and freewill. I call those brain teasers, rabbit holes. We struggle to understand concepts around being outside of linear time. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, so we can’t really “change” His mind? It’s a bit funny, but even if we have a powerful acceptance of God’s sovereignty, we need to be aware of the fact that our prayers really can change circumstances and events……exactly as God already knew they would.
Also, we don’t really have to change God’s mind, we have to be open to allowing Him to change ours. From our own window it is our own eyes that look out at the world. God doesn’t have to change for our own eyes to suddenly see a completely different picture in front of us. When the picture in front of you changes, everything changes.
There’s a lot of negativity around the idea of “confirmation bias,” too. In truth however, the concept originated in the context of healthy love and contented relationships. We go forth in love and proceed to confirm our own biases, actually creating a positive thing in our own relationships. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
I happen to believe God answers every single prayer. We don’t always see those answers, we don’t always receive them as we should, and we don’t always trust in them, but I believe every single prayer is heard and answered. The problem with listening is usually on our end, not God’s. He hears us just fine. It’s our own eyes and ears that often turn away.
I’m laughing here, one of my biggest issues has involved being so busy praying, God could never get a word in edgewise. Well, if we don’t get quiet once in a while, we actually can’t hear Him giving us exactly what we need.