Read with me, “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” Matthew 6:7-8
He is a giver, period. He is good, no doubt about it. He is constant, faithful, and compassionate. Why do we then struggle to see prayers answered? Does the problem lie in how we pray, infrequency of our prayers, or frequency of our faults? If it is true that He has already provided, that He has a willing heart and able hand, an arm long enough to reach into the deepest despair, then maybe the way we look at Him could affect our faith.
At the beginning of this year I felt God pressing upon my heart the need for intentional prayer. ‘Intentional’ insists on being present and thoughtful when praying, not merely asking for things or reciting rhetoric that has been repeated ad nauseam. “Why the emphasis on prayer,” I asked. He reminded me the importance and efficacy of sincere prayer has become lost in the pursuit of praying right, the act having lost its deep meaning in the quest to find the words that will move God on our behalf. Value lost to the anticipation of looking good. We don’t receive, because we don’t ask in faith, we eloquently demand in impatience. The church is infected with a lack of identity, because we fail to recognise who God is. Failing to know Him results in lack of knowing how He works. Faith moves Him, not your well versed rectifications. If we don’t fully know God, we will not fully know ourselves. As you find more of Him, you realise more who you are and what truly holds value in your life. I felt this year God is calling us once again to learn to pray, to understand that prayer is a conversation. A conversation is dual sided, and often times preclude self-satisfactory results. Prayer is not an opportunity to beg and plead, to appease God just enough. We often approach prayer with a mindset that says, “Ok, that method didn’t yield results. Let me try saying it like this instead.” Praying is not a weapon to force results, but an opportunity to lean into His arms, build a relationship and hear His side of the story, too.
Provision as answer to prayer shouldn’t be regarded as mystical or mysterious, tenuous, mostly unattainable. It is tangible. Like His love, it speaks loud. Provision is often times contingent on community. God’s heart is to build His church. This is represented by a network of people doing what is honest and holy. I truly believe if we all live our His love, the body will see the provision it longs for in all areas. He is the one who equips the saints, but the saints need to go and do. Provision sprouts from community. Provision is an outstretched arm, an open hand, an exposed and vulnerable heart. What prayer and provision are not is invocations done in secret to compel others to give to our cause. It is not magic or manipulation. It is real, and it is an extension of good theology, not bad. If we are convinced we need to persuade Him to provide for us, hinting at others, that’s a very transparent reflection of our belief systems. It says we believe we move Him by hints, we believe we convince Him by manipulation, without our interferences He would not recognise our need.
He knows what you need, before you even ask. Therefore, ask. ASK, and listen for the response. He is enough. He is sufficient. He is WILLING. Understand this today, think on this, and meditate until it becomes part of your knowing, He is willing! He is willing. He is willing. You do not have to perform prayerful acrobatics to impress Him. His arm desires no twisting. You pray now, knowing He loves you. You pray to spend time with Him. Let your prayerlife transform from you-centred to God-centred. Pray desiring to know His heart about the situation, let Him weigh in on the options and solutions. Co-labour with Him instead of coming up with prayers that will secure your preferred outcomes. Let prayer be about hearing His voice, learning His heart, and adopting it as your frame of reference.