Prayer is not rocket science. You just talk to God. What could be easier? But in practice, we may find praying to be more challenging than we expected. It is not like an ordinary conversation, where we can gauge God’s response by judging His facial expression or body language. When we pray, God is mostly silent. But silence does not mean that God is unresponsive. Silence is an essential element of listening, and listening is vital to achieving true conversation.
In Philippians 4:6, the apostle prescribes prayer as a remedy for anxiety. He says, “in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” If there is a distinction between prayers and petitions, it is a difference between the general and the specific. There are many kinds of prayers. But the essential nature of prayer is that it involves a petition or request. In most of our prayers, we are asking for something from God.
The peace that results from prayer does not come from an assumption that we will get whatever we ask. God always answers our prayers, but sometimes His answer is no. Instead, this is a peace that comes from God. The fact that God hears us when we pray means that He both knows our request and understands what we genuinely need (Matt. 6:32). God knows both our desires and our actual need. He also knows how our request fits into His plan.
Our prayers should also contain thanksgiving. It is unlikely that we will experience peace if our petitions are not also mixed with gratitude for what God has already done for us. Peace is a gift from God, but thankfulness is a choice.
>> What do you need today? Don’t be afraid to be specific as you make your requests. Then trust God to know how to answer your prayer. Reflect on God’s past goodness and give thanks.
We bring our petitions to You, trusting that both Your “yes” and Your “no” are given in all-knowing compassion. Teach us to hear Your voice and sense Your prompting in response to our requests.