The most soft-spoken person in the class asked, almost sadly, “Does prayer really work?” A silence followed. Who would dare to ask that question? Of course it works! But, deep inside, most of us have doubts, don’t we? She was brave enough to ask the question for us all. I had to think about it for awhile and, over time, have come up with the only answer I know.
Does prayer work?
If you mean, do I get what I ask for? Not often. Sometimes it seems I do. The anxiety lessens, the child gets better, the presentation goes well. At other times, the answer is not at all what I was looking for at all.
Sometimes prayer simply becomes a battleground for my spiritual life. My way or His? Will I accept what God wants even if I don’t want it? Jesus exampled it perfectly in the Garden of Gethsemane.
And sometimes, I get to be part of what God is doing in this world. In some small way, I may influence His work as others have done through the ages.
Always, though: Prayer connects me to God. Talking to Him grows my trust. When I listen for His response, I learn to know Him, and knowing Him changes me.
Yes, prayer works! For God’s glory, of course, but also for my good. There’s a lot about this I don’t know, but I do know this: I’m not going to stop praying just because I don’t understand. Most days, just being with Him is enough.
“If I seek some other reward besides God Himself, I may get my reward but I cannot be happy.” – Thomas Merton