160919-prayers

“O Lord, help me find a parking spot. Preferably in the shade!”

“God, I’ve studied so hard for this test. Would You help me do well?”

“I could really use a new pair of running shoes. Dear God, would You provide a pair for me?”

Do you sometimes feel silly about taking short, simple prayers like these to the God of the universe? Does God really care about where we park, how our test goes, and what shoes we run in?

Before we can answer that, we have to park on the first part of the question: “Does God really care?” That phrase is key to understanding why we pray. If we doubt that God cares about the little things, pretty soon we’ll doubt His care for us. And if we question God’s love, then our whole foundation for believing in Him cracks, becoming faulty and unstable. We cannot truly love God if we don’t fully trust Him.

Better Than Your Best Friend

What if after hanging out with your best friend sharing secrets, she immediately started gossipping about you behind your back? Or what if she promised to help you with a project or be there for you in a difficult situation, but never came through for you? That would not be much of a friendship!

God is not that kind of friend. He never fails to keep a promise, and He has promised to always be there for us. Jesus reminded His disciples in Luke 12:6–7 that if God knows when a sparrow falls from a tree, He knows when we’re in a predicament. Rest easy. God considers His children much more worthy of His tender care than any bird!

We can trust God and pray to Him because we know He cares (1 Peter 5:7). We know that He wants to hear what we have to say and desires good things for His children. Jesus again confirms this in His message from the Sermon on the Mount:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matt. 7:7–11).

What Is Prayer, Exactly?

So is this a free ticket for whatever your heart desires? Nope! God is not like a magical genie. If selfish motivation is your heart’s desire, then no, that’s not what Matthew 7 is about. We shouldn’t go into our prayer closet with the expectation that we’ll come out with whatever we want. Too often we think it’s all about me, solving my problems, granting my wishes, listening to me whine.

But inversely, prayer is not about groveling sheepishly before a harsh judge, trying to convince him of why he should listen to your case and rule in your favor. So what is prayer if it’s not fearful begging or boastful demanding?

Prayer is about a relationship.

When Jesus came to earth and died on the cross He not only bore our sin and conquered death, He also gave us access to the Father! Jesus isn’t just our Savior and Redeemer, He’s our High Priest. Because of the blood of Christ, we can now boldly enter the throne room of grace at any time, from anywhere.

The writer of Hebrews said it beautifully:

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:14–16).

If you’re like me, you may have raced through that passage. Circle back. Let this truth sink down deep. The King of all kings has given you the VIP pass into His royal palace, and it’s not like taking a tour of an uninhabited castle. God has invited you into His home. He wants you to sit down at His table and feast on His mercy and grace and live there with Him forever!

That is amazing! Think about that when you find yourself questioning God’s love because of your circumstances or an unanswered prayer. Remember what the Father has already done to prove His love to you.

Prayer isn’t about getting what we want; it’s about getting to know God. It’s a continual conversation between Father and daughter. That’s why it’s okay to talk to Him about things like parking spots and tennis shoes, because He cares. It’s okay to tell Him how your day went or what your questions and concerns are, because He cares. He really does.

What are some little (or big) things you’ve been talking to God about today?

Originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com

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