Daily Devotional for Sunday September 19, 2010

How Often Do We Pray but Never Really Expect Anything to Happen

(Isaiah 65:24)

How often do we pray, but never really expect anything to happen? Praying for many has become almost like a superstition. How many pray with confidence? How many pray expecting God to answer? You see, prayer works because God gave us this way to communicate with Him. We do it almost as a chore at times. We do it usually when we have failed and we don't have any other answers. Prayer should never be the last resort, but the first option.

So many emails I get each day state that God doesn't hear their prayers. God isn't answering them. First of all, God's timing is not our timing. Many times you are praying and God is trying to answer in a different way. Prayer is not like buying a lottery ticket. If your number doesn't come up, you lose. God ALWAYS hears your prayers, and God ALWAYS answers your prayers. Maybe not in the time frame you want, or in the way you want, but God does answer.

The problems I find with most people's prayer lives is the unrealistic expectations they have. In so many cases, their own rebellion and disobedience has put them in a difficult situation. Now they run to God like He is a genie in the bottle, expecting everything to be fixed overnight. That is not real life. Can God do it? Of course, but that is not the way it normally works.

In the midst of a tragedy, people pray, and then when everything isn't better, they think God has not heard them or He doesn't care. Again, you have unrealistic, unscriptural expectations of God. God has a plan, a plan that works if you have read the end of the Book. He is on the throne and in control at all times. He knows what is going on.

Can I then explain why He allows some of the horrific things that happen in the world to people every day? No. I am not even going to pretend to understand all God is doing. I do know this. He loves us. He cares about us. He promised all things will work together for good to those who love Him. It doesn't say it will work together the way we want it to.

So if all I have just said is true, what is the point of praying? Because that is how we communicate with God. That is sometimes how He communicates His wishes to us. He told us to come boldly before the throne of grace. Over and over he exhorts us to ask, to pray, to seek Him. One thing prayer does is confirm who is in control.

Another thing it does is help us to know God better as we see Him working in our life. Prayer also reaffirms our dependence upon Him and is a way of surrendering our will for His. These are all things we need to do daily to mature as believers, to better know God, so ultimately we become more productive servants of our King.

I love you and care about you so much. I will be praying for you today, praying that you will understand better prayer and it's power. Use the great access God has given us to Him, not just in out time of need, but every day. I love you, and am praying that today you will open your heart and let God speak to you about how you can see more results out of your prayer life, as you focus more on what God wants and less on what you want. Prayer does work, and it is our greatest weapon. Don't neglect it.

In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller