For the last few days, I have been thinking a lot about prayer. It probably started with what I thought was an excellent sermon in church this last week entitled Unanswered Prayers. I don't want to attempt to repeat that sermon here. If anyone is interested, they can download it from the church's website at www.christchurchva.org.
The Bible, of course, has a lot to say about prayer. But, what really caught my attention this morning is "The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results." James 5:16 There is a lot wrapped up in those few words - both conditions "earnest prayer," "righteous person" and promises "great power and wonderful results."
For the last year or so, I have been attempting to change my own prayer life. I still pray specifically for the healing of friends and family, and for food, shelter and safety for the friends that need that. More and more though, both for myself and for my friends and family, I pray for God's direction, calming influence and intervention in our lives. The distinction to me is that I am not praying for a specific outcome in those instances, I have come to accept (at least a little bit) that I do not understand the master plan and that what may seem right to me, or what I may want, may not be the right outcome for the person inolved or for God's plan. But, if we are provided with the peace, clarity, direction and love that He can provide, then I think it is more likely that we will follow where He is leading and make the truly right decisions about roads to travel. I also recognize that God can provide us with comfort and strength beyond what may seem possible under the circumstances.
So, part of my prayer this morning, as every morning, is that God can act in my life and your life today to help us in the ways that we may need it. I pray that He will lead us and provide us with the direction that we need. I believe that there is great power in this prayer for all of us and I believe that it will be answered for all of us if we let ourselves be open to listening for that answer. While I can't point to a time that it started for me, I truly believe that God wants to have that kind of relationship with all of us.