Praying is Hard

The kids are killing me with their questions.

Don’t get me wrong, I love how they think and that they don’t think superficially. The questions they ask are questions I wrestle with which is amazingly scary.

Because I will mess up.

Last night they asked about prayer. Why do we pray when God doesn’t answer us? One of the kids gave the pat answer they learned in Sunday School, ‘Well, God answers prayers in 3 ways: Yes, No and Not now.’ I asked if they really believed that? I got a shoulder shrug. The other kid answered, and said so why does God always say no?

Ah, yes. There lies the tension of prayer. It does always feel like God’s silence is a no. If what we want doesn’t happen we can pray harder or decide we prayed for the wrong thing, or maybe God needs to teach us something first. But that kind of thinking makes God very small and no more than a puppeteer who controls us with strings.

I don’t know about you, but don’t believe that is who God is. Why do we pray if we don’t believe God answers us in yes, no, or not now ways?

He hears us. Throughout the Bible are passages where the people cried, groaned, mourned and God heard.

God heard. He acted.

I don’t believe we control God with our prayers, or that if we don’t pray God won’t act. It’s a weird line to walk believing God is active force in this world and knowing he isn’t a control freak.

How do I know God acts?

Because there is good in this world. There are people helping people. There is love going around that doesn’t make sense. There is tragedy but there is hope that springs from the dry ground of desperation. Our prayers connect us with the true force of good in this world. A love so complete and so blinding it changes everyone it meets.

We pray. God acts.

In small ways and in big ways and always in ways we don’t understand.

The reason why he doesn’t give yes, no or not now answers is because his love is too big for that. When we call out to Him we become too big for that as well.

We change. Then we act.

In small ways and in big ways and always in ways we don’t understand.



Israel prayed. God heard. He remembered and was concerned.

Our prayers unleash change in this world. In our hearts and in the hearts of those we come face to face with. Thinking about prayer as yes, no or, not now is so small.

Think big in prayer. Come to God in awe and praise and watch the world change.

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