“Have you prayed about it?”
“Of course”, I lied. You should never lie about praying about things. Sometimes I do.
It’s not that I don’t think that prayer is effective. Sometimes I forget and sometimes I’m just not sure what to say. And sometimes there’s nothing to say, but to sit in silence. And I forget that that’s praying too.
But this “thing”. This “thing” you’ve asked if I’ve prayed about. Ok, sure. I have prayed about it. I prayed about it last year in a call of desperation. And I occasionally put it on a prayer list if people ask. And I’ve shed a tear or two over it. And people ask for updates every once in a while. And I’ll be honest, I’m always a little embarrassed when I don’t see progress. As if I’m covering up for God (like he even needs it).
“Oh, I’m sure He’s working on it.”
“He’ll get to it, I’m sure of it.”
“I can totally see it happening down the road.”
All the while I start to think: Will I ever move this off my prayer list and into a category of praise?
It’s so tough to pray for something and not see the results we desire. It’s tough to see shimmers of promise, followed by doubt and the wondering if God can even hear you (is this thing on??).
I’m not sure what you’ve prayed about or how God has answered your prayers, but I have seen the lists of praises. I started a small group several years back and at the end, we would write in a prayer journal all of the things that were so heavy on our hearts. The following week, when we would meet again, we would put a * or something to note that the prayer had been answered in some way shape or form. It was great to see things that we weren’t sure would ever get answered, or see things answered in a way we never would have thought of ourselves (we serve a pretty creative God, amen?). I remember feeling so inspired and encouraged by the goodness and mercy shown in the greatness of God.
I have never stopped seeing those things. But there have been prayers that I have said so many times that I’m not even sure God still hears them. Of course He does, but I think: Maybe I didn’t pray hard enough/long enough/loud enough/eloquently enough. And then I hear those words again: You are enough.
I realize that God does not work in my time. He does not jump at the sound of my voice, but rather I jump at the sound of His. And who am I to say He is not working and moving on whatever my heart is longing for? Answers come in different forms, and sometimes they’re not called answers, but rather responses. God is responding at all times.
We may not see it as the response we desire or in the time that we want, but He is not always as silent as we feel He may be. God is on the move even in the midst of our doubt in the effectiveness of prayer.
I recently mentioned a “response” to a prayer that I have repeated since the day I met Jesus. It was small. On the scale of responses, it was on the lower end of like a 3 or a 4. But it was so loud and it desired more praise than I knew how to give. While it wasn’t a 10, that 3 or 4 held more value than any number on any scale ever could. One of my sweet small group girls even mentioned “I know how much you’ve prayed about that”.
My eyes filled with tears. I did pray about that. A lot. And not in a “I prayed about it” in the most shallow comments. But like, poured my heart out over it. And how sweet was the moment to see the beginning of God’s work outside of my own time. Your prayers are not lost amongst the sound waves. God hears them and He is moving. Maybe not at the movement or speed that you prefer, but they are not your prayers to answer. His ways are not our ways, and we need to be ok with whatever His ways may be.