I’ve prayed prayers that didn’t work, and I’ve seen supernatural things happen that most people would call coincidence. Luckily I know better.
I have a bit of a mystical belief that we have a lot to do with our prayers getting answered. No one has a perfect formula, and the mystery of God is something we will never fully understand. It’s always Him who answers, but as you get to know God you learn more about what causes amazing things to happen. In the interest of not overthinking the issue, I’ll put it simply: stay humble and have expectant faith.
True humility is making your requests known to God and then just not worrying about it. When someone you love is sick, that’s hard. When you have no money to feed your family next week, that’s hard. In the darkest night we’re still here on this planet doing real life things and dealing with the powers that cause evil to thrive. But nothing good ever came easy. Surrender your desires, talk to God, give it up and go on your way. There’s nothing more powerful than a Christian surrendered to the will of the Lord, no matter what His will may be.
Bow your head, close your eyes, kneel, these are physical ways to humble yourself, and it helps, but remember how it says it in 1 Samuel 16:7, “man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” The way we focus our heart-energy and send it up to heaven in the form of a prayer matters. Then, after you pray, stop worrying. God will handle it. Something will work out.
You can be on wailing on your knees all day and still see no results if your heart is in the wrong place. James 4:3 says, “You ask and you do not receive because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your passions.”
The heart is what really matters, and God knows what you need. No matter what you go through, you’re still a sheep and He’s still the shepherd.
Throughout my experience as a Christian I have learned that humility is a mindset that gains us access to the Kingdom of God. Once you can position your heart to really just surrender and accept that there’s no way you can figure it out, that place of modesty can open your life up to all kinds of gifts and possible changes. Because, as it says in Proverbs 3:34, “…to the humble he gives favor.”
Submission is vital to prayer. I’m not talking about living in a state of false humility, either. It’s not about calling yourself names or taking your salvation for granted. Submission means opening yourself to hear. Prayer is an open conversation with God, meaning it’s not just you speaking. When you take time to listen and receive, you get blessed, even when you don’t actually hear anything. The voice we hear from above is not some loud booming voice. It’s the quiet whisper that carries the voice of the Holy Spirit. Don’t cover it up with your lofty words and showboating phrases. Just listen, receive, rejoice.
Prayer is meant for many things. It can be a solemn request, an expression of thanks, a concern or just telling Father God what’s been going on in your life. I know that sounds silly because he knows anyway, right? But he likes hearing from you, and it’s often therapeutic to share your worries with the omnipotent, especially when you listen afterwards. Don’t be surprised if you hear crickets at first. Just waiting and soaking, meditating on the holy and righteous can bring a lot of peace. It’s calming to the spirit to focus on what is above instead of the things below. Chill out and allow God to work on you in silence.
Humility allows us to focus our energy to put in the request to the heavenly realm. Taking ourselves to the place of submission strips away the pride that can destroy a prayer before it even starts.
Prayer is an opportunity to press in to the world around you and send holy attention around things that need to change. Your prayer’s are like incense in heaven, a pleasing aroma to God. Prayer let’s God know your experience and how your mind works so He can bless you with gifts and support.
If you don’t pray then God can’t get to know you.
Sinclaire Sparkman is The Democrat’s news editor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.