I come from a tradition of Christianity that believes that if one prays in the “right way” then prayers will be answered. From evidence seen that isn’t true. But this has got me thinking “why doesn’t God answer prayer?” which actually has led further to a “why should God answer any of our prayers?” And this is where I’m starting from now. Not that I will never pray again but I do wonder what give me the right to think that I should have my prayers answered? If I am a Child of God, which I do believe I am, then I trust that my Father will do what He thinks best, but most of the time I behave like a toddler, grizzling when I don’t get what I want, and thinking if I find the right formula next time then He’ll answer. As a parent I’ve had to make lots of decisions for my children from where we’d lived, even to whether I’d stayed with their father or not, to what form of schooling they had, even what religion they learn most of through my practise. That one is
interesting because even if we say that we will teach our children about all faiths they learn most about the one we follow because of what we say as much as what we do. So as a parent I make decisions, and even if I consult my children, which I did often, whether we did as they suggested or not was up to me. Why should I see God as any different? Why should God answer my prayers?
Ok so this hurts when someone dies too young from anything; cancer, suicide, accident. But do I pray because I think I am worthy of being answered? Or do I pray because I want to be able to input into my “father’s” decisions? There is a story of Abraham and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19, where God brings Abraham into His decision making process. God does similar with Moses during the exodus from Egypt. Loads of times God asks His people what they think. But we don’t see it as an honour but as a right.
I think God answers our prayers so often, and so many of them are so trivial; for parking spaces, jobs, even at times what to cook for supper – or maybe that’s just me 🙂 But there are big prayers that don’t get answered, where people died, get into debt, wars break out, etc. I think though we notice more what doesn’t happen than what does. I’ve been praying for a young friend who’s mother died suddenly last year from a severe asthma attack. On the anniversary of her death he graduated as a Butlin’s redcoat and now has his own show as one of the big animal characters there. When I knew his mother was in hospital I prayed for her but she died but I have been praying for him ever since and he is doing great. Now I could focus on what didn’t happen, his mother’s healing, or I can focus on the life he is living. That doesn’t mean I’m not sad about his mum’s death but I can choose what to focus on. There are too many times when we focus on what didn’t get answered rather than think ourselves honoured that the Creator of the Universe should even want to listen to us.
God is good – all the time – but so often we forget what a privilege it is to be heard by Him at all.
I do think though that we focus on what didn’t happen because when we lose someone to death it is such a big thing, such a huge grief, and its like the compliments thing – we need 10 good things said to us to overcome one bad thing. But I for one am going to get to the place of being honoured that God should even take any notice of me at all, and still walk into His Throne room boldly!