Prayer and Its Discontents

by

Prayer is many things to many people. To the Muslim it is a daily ritual, to the Catholic it is a work that helps merit salvation, and to the evangelical Christian it is often a struggle. Books are written, classes are taught, all with the purpose to teach Christians how to have a better prayer life. That is because if we are honest with ourselves, the majority of us struggle with prayer. We live in a society of instant gratification. Many of us have been socially conditioned to expect to receive whatever we want whenever we want it. I truly believe that this is why prayer is difficult for most of us, because so often we do not see immediate results.

Over the last year, the Lord has taught me a great deal about prayer. Ever since I was a little girl, I have had a deep yearning to be a mother. For the last year, my husband and I had hoped to start a family, but encountered many difficulties along the way, including some health issues on my part. I was beginning to wonder if I may ever bear children. I prayed to the Lord daily, requesting that He would open my womb. For many months His answer was clear; it was not time yet. While I did not understand His answer, I continued to pray for His mercy.

Before this time, like many fellow believers, my prayer life was inconsistent, and I believe that the Lord used my desire for a child to bring me closer to Him. And for that I am grateful. Prayer teaches us to rely solely on our Father, often forcing us to admit our complete dependence on Him. Throughout Scripture the Lord commands us to trust in Him and to make our requests known to Him through prayer. One portion of Scripture that speaks clearly to me is a simple reminder found in Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” While this seems like a simple passage of Scripture, it is far too easy for us to get caught up in the busyness of our lives, focused on the various concerns of the day. The Lord reminds us to be anxious in nothing, but to let all of our requests be known to Him.

Prayer is something most of us need to work on, since for many of us it remains a constant struggle. In the days and weeks ahead, commit yourself to prayer, and fervently let your requests be made known to God daily. Why? Because this brings us closer to Him.

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