Most prayers by Christians are typically what I term “Walt Disney prayers” … seeking the “happily ever after” rather than life by the Spirit, which is the only way that bears God fruit.
Every prayer we pray will only be effective when it is uttered by the leadership of His Spirit, in cooperation with Him. I don’t even pray but what I first ask the Lord, “what shall I say?” And I spend more time listening than speaking, of course.
I learned this important lesson nearly 25 years ago, when circumstances in our family became very perilous. Things were happening against my will, with the potential to ruin my three young children. Whenever I started praying for my kids, I noticed my peace level drastically drop to almost nothing! I know it was because I was in such fear that I’d neglect to pray for some crucial area of need. I felt so incredibly responsible to pray for the kids that it was a burden, not an act of faith in trusting God. While the circumstances were horrendous, the needs were critical ones, I realized that ‘a scared prayer wasn’t any prayer at all’. If I couldn’t come to God in faith and in peace, I was dishonoring all His promises to me.
So I developed my faith to trust God to alert me and call me to prayer rather than me praying out of obligation, responsibility, or need. I always felt overwhelmed in trying to ‘cover all the bases’ and the weight of ‘oh God, what if I’m forgetting to pray about something, we’re doomed!’
He taught me about confidence in Him during these years. About truly turning my kids over to Him in faith believing that He was taking perfect care of them, rather than me continuing to try and control things under the guise of ‘prayer’.
Of course, along with this I also was the one that daily had to reaffirm my consecration to live by His Spirit. I couldn’t just put my kids on God’s shoulders without partnering with Him, to use my prayer of faith when He called on it. I had to cooperate with God. The expression “let go and let God” has always bothered me, even though the concept of it seems so noble. I’ve come to realize that God doesn’t want us to let go, but rather to be glued to Him, to be even closer, to press in. To ‘let go and let God’ is to be separated and to be independent while saying that He is in control. But God our Father doesn’t respond to that theory. He responds to people who are joined together with Him through Jesus, doing our part in paying attention. God still needs us! See where religion has messed up so many people when it comes to what faith really looks like?
I had to let peace be my guide even when it comes to prayers for my family. God is dependable. He alerts me and shows me how to pray when He needs me to accomplish something. So rather than coming to Him with my ‘grocery list’ of prayer needs, praying those ‘perfect endings’ to every story, and ‘machine gun firing scriptures and words’, I can stay in peace, respond to Him, and fire that precision sniper bullet of words and prayer that are needed at that right moment. Of course this calls for greater sensitivity to Him, which is developed as we exercise our faith muscles.
My responsibility to my kids and our family is 100% fulfilled as I pay attention to and heed the amazing gift of God’s Spirit within me. God asks nothing more of any of us, than this. Truly His gospel is simple, His burden is light, His way is easy.
My prayers were answered of course. He told me what to believe for and I chose to obey. Persistence, Perseverance, and Patience caused us to overcome. Not just to survive, but to thrive. No matter what you face today, you have God’s Word on it that He’ll make it turn out right, if you’ll go to Him for instruction and counsel. God has absolutely never, ever let anyone down!