I’ve been thinking lately of some of the prayers that God has answered for me–both recently and in times past. I can also think of some that He hasn’t, but I am increasingly convinced of the truth of James 4:2: “You do not have because you do not ask.” It’s also true that “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). I confess that many of my prayers are selfish (health, strength, even money to be able to purchase something that will make me more comfortable). But there are other prayers that I need to pray on a more consistent basis (salvation for loved ones, for example). God is not a genie; He does not owe us anything; but He delights in hearing from His people, and I’m thankful that He cares about the smallest details of our lives.
This coming year, I want to draw ever closer to the Savior, hearing His voice and praying according to His will. But I will continue to pray for others as God brings them to mind. I’ll pray for healing for my loved ones until God makes it clear that is not in His will. I’ll pray for peace for myself and others as we traverse this world of uncertainty. I’ll pray for safety for my family as we travel or find ourselves around sickness. I’ll pray that God softens the hearts of those who hate us. (Yes, I believe that He is able to do that.) But more than anything, I pray that God will keep drawing me closer to Him, giving me boldness to be a light in a dark world. I’ll pray for strength to rise above my disappointments and heartaches in order to encourage others and point them to the only One who can lessen these things. I’ll pray that my focus will be on Christ instead of what is happening in our country or the world.
Let’s be faithful to keep praying, no matter how bleak things may be. And yet, remember that prayer is not really about us. It’s about drawing closer to the Master, allowing Him to change us and make us more like Him. The majority of prayer should be praising Him and listening for His voice, regardless of whether or not we receive what we ask for. He is still a good and faithful Father.