We do live in a competitive, success-driven society! I once heard someone say that she had prayed for a cure for her kidney-involved lupus and her prayer was successful; she believed she was cured completely, lupus-free, although her kidneys were still failing and she eventually needed a transplant.
The topic of the use of the words “healing” and “cure” within a spiritual, Christian context is the topic for another (perhaps many other) blogs. Here, in the midst of Lent, I’m finding myself musing over another question, “When you have a chronic illness, what is a ‘successful’ prayer?” Is it one where you ask God for a cure and you get it? Or, is it where you ask for a cure, don’t get it, but believe you’re cured anyway? Or, is it something else, something more subtle? Or, is there such a thing as a ‘successful’ prayer? Or, an ‘unsuccessful’ one, for that matter?
Although the Apostle Paul spoke of “running the race” to spread the Gospel, I’m inclined to think that there’s more to prayer than it ultimately being successful or not. The act of speaking with God and listening is so much deeper than “ask and get.” Although I think I know what I want, God knows even better; his idea of ‘success’ is probably not mine at all – and I would do well to listen closely to what He wants and what He says instead of anything, in my humanness, I think I want.
Hmm…perhaps it’s not about success at all, but a process where we become closer to God each time we sit in quiet and pray and listen. And, this might be the most difficult part of practicing true prayer in today’s world. Results, races, and success don’t really apply to coming to the point where we say, “Thy will be done,” and then take up our cross again and walk step-by-step.
There is strong Scriptural support for the belief that God already knows what we’re going to ask for before we ask for it. Moreover, He has a purpose for each of us, and already knows what that is. God loves us, too, so He surely wishes each of us to thrive in the spirit. For Him to work in our lives, I’m finding more and more that it’s not so much the things we ask for and either or or are not granted, but rather our attitude toward God’s eternal listening and presence in our lives – as well as our obedience to accept and follow His will, not matter what.
By getting away from measuring the success of prayer, we get closer to immeasurable faith!
Blessings for the day,