If there is one thing that mystifies most people, it's prayer. Why? Because we really don't know how it works. Does it put in a request? Does it tell God what we want? Does it work like a Christmas list or a grocery list? If we do enough praying, fasting, and being good to everyone, will we get a yes? Will it work? Does prayer change history? Does it change a predestined situation? Well, does it?
All through the Bible, even the most influential and saintly folks questioned God and what was happening to or around them, wondering if they even had influence. But at the same time, they continued to make supplication to God...and as we know, it all worked out for them one way or another. We know where they are now and from much of what they wrote, they one became stronger in their faith. How? With prayer, persistent prayer.
Are afraid of doing God's Will? Do you think He will make you have to do things you don't want to do? Remembering when I was a teen and a young 20's person and the mere thought of doing God's will sounded way too sacrificial for my weak heart. I was frightened by the thought of doing God's will, why, what was it anyway? God's will was setting me up for some really scary, serious stuff that I had no preparation for. It was too hard, to way out there for me. Surely, I was not the only young Catholic that had that attitude about God's will.
While still in my 20's, I found myself lonely and depressed and a friend told me to pray the psalms. One night, crying myself to sleep, remembering what my friend said, I reached for my Bible and began my long journey through the Psalms each night for several months. At one point, I realized how scared I was of God's will for me. As I continued to read about the sorrow, remorse, desperation, anger, and questioning that went on about God arm-wrestling His will upon these folks. Then, came the praise, the thanksgiving, and the love-fest in the many other Psalms of the wonders of God and His love and care for those who follow His Will. I realized, slowly albeit that God's will isn't a scary thing at all, but a gift. God gives us what we need, when we need it and as much as we need in His time, but through prayer, we are changed, calmed, strengthened, encouraged, and relational with and by God.
So, through prayer we reach a place that gives us hope. Through prayer, we are transformed, through prayer; we can hear God's Will for us. Not immediately, spontaneously, formally, and even informally, but it is prayer that makes us stronger, developing a relationship with God.
Prayer changes us.
We begin to realize that we need God to both heal us and help us understand the situation. We need to lean on Him to give us understand and wisdom to get through. Being silently prayerful, we begin to hear His voice. We can begin to feel His love and care for us and become reassured and comforted. A prayerful life is an offering, a turning over the wheel to God, a surrendering to His leadership and guidance, and as we continue to pray, we begin to be more open to responding to God in ways we never thought we could before. Our relationship with God grows and our love for God grows and the more we see Him working in and through us.
Does prayer change history?
Probably not, remember that He knew us before we were formed in the womb, He knew us before we were born, don't you think that He knows how it all plays out as well? But, possibly, He wants to show us how to love Him and how He loves us. Whatever happens, we grow, if we give God permission to teach us, care for us, and love us.
Keep praying, pray constantly, don't stop praying, but remember to be silent and listen. You will be changed, you will be better, stronger, wiser, and probably totally in love with your Creator, God our Father, our Triune God; love itself!
Copyright 2010 Ebeth Weidner
About the Author
Ebeth Weidner, a Master Catechist and cradle Catholic who considers herself a Catholic information junkie, writes from her heart about the faith and hope she finds in the Catholic Church. She is the author of “A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars” blog. She is the wife of a research science Professor and mom to 3 great young adults people living on the coastal side of North Carolina.