By Tanya Wilson
Typically, around this time of year I begin assessing where I am in my life’s journey; what my successes have been, and what my challenges are. In reflecting on those things this week, I realized that some of the same things I have been praying for for the last few years are some of the same things that I have as petitions currently.
In talking with a friend, I found myself miffed about something’s that are still unresolved. I said, “If I could just get some wins, I’d feel like I am being heard.” Who do I think I am? Obviously, I slipped off of home plate with that thinking.
Matthew 6:7 (NIV) says “and when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”
I had to ask myself, what the depths of my prayers have been. What is my focus? I wanted to make sure that I was not just praying in meaningless repetition.
Later, I sat back and reflected on the power of my prayer. In doing so, I asked myself, am I expecting that my prayers should be automatically answered like “putting coins in a vending machine?” I had to chuckle as I thought of my own relationship with my children, and all that has gone into my responses when they are asking for something. I didn’t always say yes to my children, as a matter of fact, many times I said no, not yet, we’ll see. Why, because I thought my answer was in their best interest.
So why was I being a spoiled brat when it came to my prayer expectations? Don’t I rely on the Lord to lead me toward what’s best for me? It may not be the answer I wanted, but no or not yet could be best for me and my life now. So, just as my children would keep coming back and pleading their case, I was now guilty of the same.
What is the prayer motive? Prayer is not about repetition, but of relationship. My timely repetition is not going to move me further along the answered prayer line. Prayers are much about changing us, our character, our will and our values even when we are seeking our response.
So while I had the nerve to be miffed, I was quickly reminded that because He is omniscient, He already knows. He knows what is best for me. He never said everyday was going to be rosey, but what He did promise was that He would be with me through every circumstance as I trust. Once I pray, I must be open to the best answer, not my answer. And when it is not my answer, know that it is not ‘no answer’.
Tanya is an inspirational speaker and writer living in Charlotte. You can friend her on Facebook or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more columns by Tanya Wilson.