Gratitude Day 650
Psalm 55:1 – God, listen to my prayer! Don’t hide your heart from me when I cry out to you!
“I just don’t think God is listening to my prayers.”
This is a comment that I hear SO OFTEN.
People are disappointed … and often feel let down … because they do not feel God has answered their prayers. Sometimes, the above statement is followed up with, “Why do I keep praying?”
Oh no. My heart goes out to you if you have had these feelings and/or spoken these words.
Here’s my most profound response: Sometimes, life simply is not fair.
Yes, I know. Terribly profound.
Prayer is such a sticky wicket. Since God is all-knowing, why should we HAVE to share our requests with God anyways?
Because God loves to hear YOU say them to God. God loves you and your big or little voice and longs to hear YOU share from the deepest parts of your heart. Even if you don’t want to. Still tell God. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Something like, “OK God. Here’s the deal. (whatever is on your heart.)”
I believe God loves honesty. So be honest in all things.
Now, if we share these things with God in our own voice, does this mean God’s likelihood of answering our prayer increases some amount?
Sorry. This answer is a strong, “No.”
Then why say our thoughts and requests to God? Because God loves to hear from you. AND because it is helpful and good for US.
Sometimes as I am praying, I discover WHAT I want to pray for changes. Through the act of praying, what I want to pray for becomes clearer. Or more nuanced. Or shifts slightly.
I want to pray for healing for my friend Alice because she has been ill. So, I pray and ask for healing. Then, I find myself adding in more: “God, YOU know the kind of healing that Alice needs. Help Alice, her family and loved ones accept whatever type of healing comes her way.”
Had I not actually prayed, those last couple of sentences might not have made it into my thinking and praying. I remember that healing can come in many ways; not just physical healing. I’ll leave the healing up to God.
Praying is also helpful for us because we off-load our concerns onto someone else and not keep them bottled up inside. It’s the “share a burden with another” concept that helps us feel a little less stressed. And this often IS helpful.
Praying can remind us that we aren’t in control. Nor will we be. This, my friends, is why our prayers are not always answered the way we like them to be answered. We aren’t in control.
So, what should be our reaction when our prayers aren’t answered to our liking?
Keep going. Keep praying. Keep going back to God. The goal should not be for all of our prayers to be answered just as we wish, as much as we would really like this. The goal is for us to get closer to God. Discover more of who God is for us. Find ourselves leaning more on God and less upon ourselves.
Psalm 55 is written by someone who is struggling with prayer. Look at the opening line again:
God, listen to my prayer! Don’t hide your heart from me when I cry out to you!
I think there’s a fairly good possibility the author is frustrated and thinks God isn’t listening to his prayer requests. The author admits that he is overwhelmed with fear and dread and simply wants to run away. The author takes us on a journey through his disappointment with God. Words aren’t minced as the author shares exactly how he feels.
Take a minute and read the entire Psalm: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm+55&version=TPT
Hear the author’s closing words. He shares what he has learned through this time of being disappointed in God for not answering his prayer requests as he would like. Here’s the life lesson the author learns:
Leave all of your cares and anxieties at the feet of the Lord, and measureless grace will strengthen you.
Maybe the point of prayer is not just for things to happen the way we’d like. Maybe it’s to experience more of God’s grace, of which there is no end.
Grace. SO. IMPORTANT. For us to know and experience. Please don’t give up on God. God will never give up on you. Let’s keep searching for grace. I know I keep needing more.
For the opportunity to learn more about grace, I am grateful.
Dear God – Yes, I get disappointed in You. And feel let down. I want things my way, whether this is what is best or not. Please allow me to experience more of Your grace today. May I see grace as what is needed in prayer with You. Amen.
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