By Renee Fisher
Since I was a child my parents taught me how to pray. Hard.
Like that time my dad refused to get me a cat? I prayed harder and God literally dropped a cat on our doorstep. Like that time I wanted a boyfriend? I prayed harder but God still didn’t bring one to me.
For many Christians it [praying harder] has worked for them. Maybe that’s why so many of us reuse the phrase over and over.
The church is good at reusing clichés like a worn-out doormat. I’m not saying prayer is bad. I’m saying we’re sometimes afraid to tell people why we pray.
Maybe you want a BF or GF because you’re afraid of being alone.
Maybe you want a BF or GF because you’re sick of being the third wheel.
When someone tells me to just pray harder, I feel like they’re giving me the brush off. When someone asks me how I’m doing–I know they don’t really want the real answer so I answer “fine.” Because if I was honest with how I was feeling it might actually force honest conversation and some people are afraid of being honest.
That’s why prayer works. Not the “harder” part, but because prayer is open communication with God. God is the only one who knows your true heart. He knows when to bring someone into your life and when to make you wait.
Next time, instead of telling someone off, I mean pray harder, I mean…
Prayer should be messy.
Maybe you’re not comfortable praying out loud, or telling other people what’s really going on. But God can handle it. He can handle out hurt, anger, loneliness, and whatever–the problem is–most of us aren’t willing to tell him. We’ll tell everyone else but God.
We want a boyfriend, but do we talk to God? We want a girlfriend, but do we pray?
By telling someone to pray harder–you’re actually agreeing their prayer should [or will] be answered.
But what if God doesn’t answer because He knows that person struggles with prayer, lust, or (fill in the blank)?
Prayer is meant to make us stronger, not to be the cure.
Maybe we don’t get to know the reason why. When our prayers get answered right away, it doesn’t do us much good. Plus it’s not the normal. Often times we sit and wait. At least I do.
Does that mean God loves us any less or that we’re not good Christians because we didn’t pray hard enough? No way.
Prayer is like a workout. It teaches us how to target our weak flabby areas [call it sin] and how to grow strong and take it like a man or woman. God wants you to be strong so He teaches us things through our prayer life (or lack thereof). He uses people with boyfriends or girlfriends or teaches us how to be single. No matter which side of the fence you find yourself on today, you can trust God to answer your prayers even the ones you’ve prayed or continue to pray hard for.
“I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how hewill answer my complaint.” Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed” (Habakkuk 2:1-3, NLT).