Prayer is hard work, perhaps because it’s hard to quantify. I can spend fifteen minutes praying or fifteen minutes cleaning the bathroom. The results of one are far more obvious than the other–at least in the moment.
But what about the long term “results?”
And exactly what do we mean when we talk about “results” in our prayer life?
Do You Ever Wonder if Prayer Really Works?
If you measure the effectiveness of prayer by a life that goes according to your whims and preferences, you may actually conclude, “No, I guess prayer doesn’t work.” However, scripture is clear that our prayers are offered in cooperation with God. In effect, when we pray, we contribute to the advancement of God’s kingdom here on earth.
Elisabeth Elliot frames the dilemma with characteristic clarity:
What, after all is said and done, do you want above all? Is it ‘Thy will be done?’ If so, leave it to Him.
Is it ‘My will be done’? Don’t waste your time and God’s by praying. Have it your way.”
In our “have it your way” culture, we need new eyes and a new heart to receive the wisdom of praying with open hands and leaving the “results” to God. And that’s exactly what God has given to us with the new birth:
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.Ezekiel 36:26
A Question to Ponder
Do you pray with open hands and a “Your Will Be Done” mindset or has prayer become your Do-List for God?
“What do you want above all? Is it ‘Thy will be done?’ If so, leave it to Him. Is it ‘My will be done’? Don’t waste your time and God’s by praying. Have it your way.” #elisabethelliotquotesTweet
Now, Let’s Talk Books…
Little Prayers for Ordinary Days
My youngest grandson is only two, but already he has an awareness that his days are full, that some days go better than others, and that he needs someone even more present than his parents with whom to process life. Little people pray little prayers, and every ordinary day comprises countless opportunities to practice the presence of God by verbally bringing him into the activity of the moment.
Little Prayers for Ordinary Days is a tool for parents, grandparents, and other shepherds of children’s hearts, a bright arrow of intention pointing out those moments for God-talk and then offering the gift of words to get the conversation started. Whether a child is just waking up or reading a book, trying something new or simply engaged in the hard work of waiting (ugh!), God is present.
God’s ears are open to their joy and their complaints. He is even present to help when there’s cooked broccoli for dinner again!
Every page features delightful illustrations with winsome drawings inspired by artist Liita Forsyth’s own students, and each prayer is an invitation for children to frame their experiences in prayer–the good and the not-so-good. Spiritual formation can happen over a shared read aloud as children (and grown ups, too!) delight in the presence of God within the ordinary. The mundane activities of daily life are a launch pad to meaningful connection with the God of the universe.
Holding You in the Light,
Little Prayers for Ordinary Days is a tool for the shepherds of children’s hearts, a bright arrow of intention pointing out moments for God-talk, then offering the gift of words to get the conversation started. @ivpress @IvpKidsTweet
Do You Wonder If God Is Okay with Your Questions?
Curiosity has been my strange companion since my recent diagnosis with Parkinson’s Disease, so I’ve created a resource to invite you into curiosity along with me! God is not some grumpy parent, silencing his children and condemning our questions.
This line of thinking sent me on a biblical scavenger hunt for questions posed by the Bible’s authors. What were they asking and how should this affect the questions I’m asking and the way my curiosity is framed?
To receive your copy of “Half a Dozen Biblical Questions for Entering (and Enduring) Hard Times” simply enter your email and then click on the button below…
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Many thanks to InterVarsity Press for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which is, of course, offered freely and with honesty.