Why did my immigrant Irish relatives called themselves ‘Scots’? Reading between the lines, my kinfolk probably had been booted out of Scotland, landing on the friendlier shores of Ireland, only to hightail-it to the USA! We’ve been fleeing ever since! Today, as a good Scotsman, I want to talk a wee bit about prayer.
Here’s a thought for you– I don’t believe in the power of prayer… but in the One who has the power to answer our prayers. Many Christians believe in the power of prayer as if prayer is some form of magic. Using potent words to get things from God. If said in the right way, or with prescribed words of faith. That’s not prayer. That trying to twist God’s arm. Manipulate Him.
Let me be the first to admit that my prayers are far from perfect. I catch myself using the same patterns over-and-over again. Thinking that if I’d prayed longer or with more urgency, then God would have answered my prayers. Years ago I remember seeing a pamphlet with the title ‘Prayer–How to Get Things From God’. Can you believe it? I read it! Insinuated that God is like some big, old cosmic ‘meanie’ who has to be tricked into giving us what we want which He’s holding back. ‘Just say the magic word…!’ Is that even prayer? Maybe a D minus on your prayer report card!
Prayer at its best is spending time with God. Going into prayer, we need to know His love for and acceptance of us. Otherwise, we look for ways to bend His will to ours. Prayer helps bend my will to His. I’m saying that prayer opens God’s heart and ears to us. Won’t we spend lots more time talking with Jesus, when we know He truly loves us? With Jesus, we never have to slink around His throne in abject fear and trembling.
Here’s where those verses from Daniel really help– ‘As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed'(Daniel 9: 23). Daniel has been in prayer, confessing the sins of his people. God sends the angel Gabriel to encourage him. God answers the prayers of His people ‘…as soon as you began to pray…’
Could it be any clearer? As soon as we pray, an answer is on the way. The answer may be ‘no’. Who knows? God does. Ask…but don’t insist on getting your own way. Stop pouting. You prayed for His will. Accept it. It may be a ‘yes’. Praise God! Or possibly ‘wait and mature a wee bit more’. I’ve had that answer many times. And you know what? He was right every time. How about that? Should come as no surprise. Pray… an answer is on the way!
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for always being there. Help us to trust you no matter what. In Jesus’ name. Amen.