I find the timing of these two lessons to be…well…timely. Last week we looked briefly at, what I believe, is the central reason why we pray: that is, God is all-loving, all powerful and everywhere. We pray because our faith says that God is ultimately in control: Although that is sufficient within itself, it is not the only reason to pray.
And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.
Jesus would say something very similar in Mark 11:24. These verses speak to the power of prayer. Someone may ask, “Does prayer change the mind of God?” We know that Abraham reasoned with the Lord concerning Sodom and Gomorrah and their impending doom in Genesis 18:16-33: God appears to have a change of heart so to speak. We know that James uses Elijah, “a man with a nature like ours” (James 5:17), as an example of how “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). There is POWER in prayer!
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 1st John 5:14
“Cop out,” some would exclaim! They say this because, in their opinion, putting the words “your will be done” is ultimately saying that you have no say; that is, your prayer is powerless. Some even go on to suggest that using such language in prayer reveals a lack of faith. But our greatest example of prayer, being that of our Lord Jesus Christ, spoke these words, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) Did Jesus believe the Father could take the cross away? Absolutely! There is no greater faith than that of Christ’s. But what Christ teaches us about prayer is that above all things, God’s will is most important. By the way, the Father answered His Son’s prayer by sending angels to strengthen Him. God does not always give us what we want, but He always gives us what we need.
I close this article with a renewed awareness of His unfailing love and infinite wisdom. Recently, I asked the Lord why He didn’t answer a prayer of mine. But as time passed and I watched things unfold before me, I realized that what I wanted was not best and was not what I needed. I shall pray with confidence, realizing that power is in the words I present to the Great I Am. I do so with the understanding that His will is always best, something I can faithfully accept.