Bible Verse of the Day

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

THERE IS NO UNANSWERED PRAYER


I have yet to meet the person, no matter how deeply hurt, who does not find comfort (in the true meaning - for “comfort” means “with strength”) once he grasps this fact: There is no unanswered prayer. True, God cannot always answer yes. But He does answer.
Many people no longer pray because of what they call disillusionment. At some time in life we may have prayed for the health of a loved one, for strength to fight some weakness in you, or for success in landing a job. We have watched the dear one die; we may have wakened with another hangover, or failed to get the job. “What’s the use of praying?” we say. “God did not answer.”
We seldom realize that disillusionment, the freedom from false belief, is the healthiest experience possible - particularly for those who have considered God a kind of Santa Claus who by prayer can be plagued into giving us what we want. What then is prayer? One of the most helpful definitions: “Prayer is conversation with God.” Yet so few of us understand prayer because we don’t make it conversation with God; we deliver an ultimatum.
“Black despair will scarcely clutch and hold for long if we can talk it out with a friend who understands,” a philosopher once said. This is the secret of the kind of therapy which comes to the troubled mind that finds a counsellor to whom all things can be poured out freely. And this is the key to the healing that the broken heart finds on turning to the Counsellor unto whom “all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid.”An old hymn says: ‘Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, uttered or unexpressed.’ Many who would not think of kneeling in supplication do not hesitate to recline in a psychiatrist’s office - though increasingly counsellors agree that when we set ourselves to the work of collecting or re-collecting the scattered pieces of ourselves, we begin a task which, if carried to its natural conclusion, ultimately becomes prayer.
There was a scientist once who thought prayer was humbug - especially the kind of praying that involved making a pilgrimage. Then he fell ill, came close to bankruptcy. Many of his experiments failed. But, one day, he made the pilgrimage - mainly to get away from home. At the shrine he said to himself: “if I were not an agnostic, I might experiment with this superstition.” Convincing himself that he was going through the motions out of idle curiosity, he started the ritual. Halfway through, he thought, “Now, if this were not folly, what would I pray for? For health? For money?” He continued the ritual, and then suddenly he cried, “Oh God, I beg you. Enlighten my mind so that I may invent something very great to further human knowledge!” Amazed, the scientist stood in the silence. So this was his desire of desires. Knowing it at last, Galileo began experiments which led to the invention of the telescope.
Prayer is indeed the soul’s sincere desire - and few of us find our miracles, because we cannot discover what we want most. And sometimes we never start to find out until our whole world crashes and we are forced to look at life from a new angle, one which we perhaps see for the first time only when God says “No!”
When disappointments come, there are two things we must question before we question God or His purposes. No matter how great our longing or how fervently we pray, when God says no, we must question our desires and ourselves. Many times, we should ask not what is wrong with our prayers but what is wrong with us.
We would not be realistic, however, unless we faced the fact that while our desires may be right and we ourselves fully worthy of receiving that for which we pray, still God may say no. Why?
Sadly enough, very often only time alone can give us the reason. Instead of lamenting “Why, God, why?” we should rather console ourselves with the thought: “There is some reason, and one day I shall find it,” only then can we save ourselves untold heartbreak. Besides no or yes, there is a third answer God often gives us when we pray. Time and again God answers, “We’ll see, just be patient and do all you can do about it, and then we’ll see.”


Most of the time what happens depends, ultimately, on how much we work with God - with any or the entire manifold of powers through which He works. We really don’t know the millionth part of one per cent about prayer. But what we do know is enough to enable us to use it, and through it, to let God use us.