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Praying To God

I often think that the easiest part of praying to God, is in the asking. Over the years, I haven’t known of a single individual, when faced with a crisis, has refused prayer. It’s fairly easy to see what you don’t like in your own life and to ask God to change it or to give you help in a particular situation. Even as a young child, before I had a relationship with God, I remember praying for success before tests or swim meets.

It was not surprising then, that I was quite eloquent when it came time to ask God for what I wanted . . . or thought I needed. The time that I spent asking God for things was the bulk of my prayer time! But, after about a month of asking I began to question if God really heard my prayers. I wasn’t sure if God cared about me or what I wanted because I wasn’t seeing God answer my prayers.

I talked with a good friend about my questions. She asked me what types of requests I was making. The list was something like this:

      Bless my family...
      Give us a good day at the store today, and have us make alot of money...
      Keep the kids safe and healthy...
      Lord, change me into who You want me to be...and so on.

My friend smiled and said, “I think I understand your problem. Is the problem that God doesn’t answer your prayers or that you don’t recognize the answers?” I didn’t have a clue with where she was going! Then she said, “Let’s take the first request: ‘Bless my family’ What does that mean? How will you know if your family is ‘blessed’ or not? Or the second prayer, ‘Give us a good day at the store’, what’s a good day? Or ‘Have us make alot of money’, what’s alot? $1000 or $100,000?” I was beginning to see her point.

I learned that I needed to 1) pray specifically, and 2) to pray Biblically. My requests changed. Instead of “Bless my family”, I prayed, “Strengthen our love and our committment to each other as we each grow closer to You. Keep each of us healthy. And show us ways that we can encourage each other.” I prayed for our business. Now the prayers were not so much centered on money, but asking God to give us opportunities to bring glory to Him as we served others. Each day I asked for opportunites to verbally share how He had changed my life and the hope that we could each have in the future.

To my surprise, and joy, God began to give me opportunities to express my love to family members in tangible ways and He gave me plenty of chances to encourage them in difficult times. In business, God began to send “sand-paper” customers (those that rub you the wrong way!) that allowed me the opportunity to “practice” servanthood. But, the most fun was watching for openings to be able to share about the changes God was making in my life. Daily as I reflected on how God specifically answered my prayers, my heart would overflow with gratitude that He had heard my prayers and was answering them!

I was seeing first hand God’s power at work as He answered my prayers, but the real excitement came as I learned to pray Biblically . . .

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