Once I was clueless about how to pray. Prayer was mostly a petition for rescue or a wish list like a child would give to Santa Claus. Then I learned to pray from a tiny book called the Miracle Hour. My prayers became platitudes and gratitudes. I gave thanks for everything from paper clips to coffee. I gave thanksfor my blessings. I learned to rejoice. Slowly, my prayer evolution developed to where I prayed for specific things, asking for guidance and identifying specific people for whom I wanted God to intervene…if it was His will. And I learned to get specific for my own hopes and concerns.
Lastly, I learned to listen when I prayed. I learned to stop talking and wait. In the space between petitions and praise, He answers. He keeps answering, too.
A friend’s child is sick and we fear for her well-being. A co-worker is getting married and we pray for her happiness. Someone is running their first marathon and I pray they reach their goals and I hope it is God’s will that they succeed. I pray for my own heart’s desire and I wait in the silence, anticipating an answer and coming to terms with the possibility that the answer is potentially “No”.
But what if the answer is YES! What if, after so long of praying, He answers yes? After working so hard at learning to pray with my whole heart, to pray whole-heartedly, to pray without censorship or pretense….because he can see it all, right?….I pray into the silence and I wait. And I really think, nay believe, that prayers get answered. Our kids end up fine. Our co-workers marry happily. Races are run and finished. Fears are conquered. Joy arrives.