What should I really be praying for? This is a question many of us have asked ourselves at one time or another. Sometimes we worry that the reason our prayers are not getting answered is that we are not saying the right things. Could that be true?
Whether you are praying for reconciliation in your marriage, a change of behavior in a child or friend or simply an increase in your finances, sometimes we feel like our prayers are falling on deaf ears.
We wonder why God doesn’t seem to hear our prayers or if He does, we wonder why He does not just answer us already.
In the Bible, God says “Call to me and I will answer you; and I will tell you wonderful and marvelous things that you know nothing about.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
Well, maybe you have been calling, and still no answer. What gives?
No one knows for sure why God answers some prayers and not others but more often than not, God always answers a certain kind of prayer.
The prayers that get answered
God has given me plenty of opportunities to practice the art of what exactly to pray for. It is a skill that each of us develops as we practice praying.
We call out to God asking Him to (pleeaaase) help our kids stop fighting and get along.
Or for Him to improve our finances and shower us with abundance.
Perhaps it’s a prayer for our co-worker or boss to be more kind and treat us more fairly.
When we look at our circumstances, it’s easy to sometimes see what needs to change. But oftentimes there is more going on that meets the eye.
Sometimes situations come into our lives as a way for us to remember our reliance on God, and become the people He created.
In other words, we can say those prayers but we find that kids are still fighting, the finances are the same and there is no joy in your job.
What are we doing wrong?
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
Why didn’t God answer my prayers?
It took me a while to realize that I was praying for things I couldn’t necessarily control. It wasn’t that I was praying for the wrong things but all my prayers centered around other people.
It wasn’t until I started looking inward, at my own self, that God answered my prayers.
Instead of ONLY asking God to help my kids get along, I started ALSO praying for Him to give me more patience and to have the words that will reach their hearts.
Instead of ONLY praying for God to improve my finances, I started ALSO praying for God to give me the wisdom to use what I have wisely and to appreciate all I have been given.
And instead of ONLY asking God to show me how to find more time in my day, I started ALSO praying that God will help me use my time properly and not get distracted.
God answered each of those prayers and so many others.
He didn’t change my circumstances right away but instead, He changed me. God is in the business of changing hearts and the first heart He often changes is ours once we surrender and ask for His help.
Of course, there is no one way to pray. God can answer any and all prayers He chooses. But I have found that when we pray to ask God to change us to overcome or deal with our circumstances we are ready to see our own responsibility and the things that we can actually control.
Prayer is a means by which we communicate with God. It is an intimate, personal relationship with Christ. Therefore, while God can always change events outside of us, He often, if we cry out with a pure and humble heart gives us the strength and all we need to overcome whatever circumstances come our way.
Update: Since writing this post, we have found ourselves in a new realm dealing with the coronavirus. It’s a situation that has filled many of us with fear and anxiety. It’s scary.
I have kept this post in mind as I craft my prayer and cry out to God.
I am praying there is a cure found for this virus. I am also asking God to flood my heart with His peace and mercy during this time so I am not overtaken by the fear.
Let us pray for peace, for protection against fear as well as a cure. For wisdom for our leaders and scientists. For healthcare workers and those on the front line who keep us safe.
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In the end, prayer is simply spending time and communicating with God. It should be a dialogue, not a monologue.
No matter what you read, there are so many ways to pray. We can talk to God in whichever form brings us closer to Him. Be that through prayers of praise, intercessions, supplications or confession.
I hope these ideas give you a different perspective in creating prayers that get answered and make an impact.
It all starts by humbling ourselves and surrendering it all to His Mighty Will.