Does prayer leave you hanging?
Have you ever walked-up to another person to give them a high-five, only to be left hanging? How do you feel? Perhaps you feel abandoned? Ignored? By-yourself? And eventually, you will just stop giving high-fives entirely because you feel it just doesn’t work anyway.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have felt prayer to leave me hanging. In fact, there have been prayers that I’ve lifted-up during the past year that have yet to come to pass. So I just keep waiting for that other hand. A response. An answer. Sadly, I often find myself being content to not pray.
Maybe that’s why nearly every morning when I pull-out my prayer journal I want to groan. Maybe that’s why nearly every night before bed I’d rather just go to sleep.
It’s not that I don’t want to spend time with God. Often times, I have no problem reading the Bible, writing blogs, preparing messages, and comprehending the miraculous journeys of Max Lucado and Bob Goff. I’d be happy to listen to Steven Furtick. And I am always beyond excited to go to church! But to pray?
It’s interesting to me that I can so willingly post encouraging words on social media at 11:00 p.m. and so hesitantly pray before I close my eyes.
We often base the success of our relationship with Jesus on the fruit that we see instead of the fruit that’s still growing and requires our faith.
I quickly see the fruit of my social media posts. Before I fall asleep, I can see all of the notifications come across my lock screen, telling me of the people who have liked it and been influenced.
It encourages me to see my entire day changed because of a verse in my leather Bible.
I love to see blogs, devotionals, and sermon notes come together on a page.
You know how exciting it is to see the impact of an author’s writing or a pastor’s words on my heart.
And don’t even get me started on church! Talk about seeing God move!
But prayer doesn’t always work that way. We pray and hear no answer. No response. So we feel left hanging by God. And perhaps worse of all, we see no fruit. This causes us to ask questions like, “Is prayer worthwhile?”; “Why pray?”; “Does God even listen? Care? Have ears?”
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV
Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not growing. Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it is any less powerful. We must walk by faith, not by sight.
Interestingly enough, sometimes the unseen fruit only lacks our faith in order to come into sight.
I love the story of Peter and John in Acts, chapter 3. It is here that we find a crippled beggar outside the Temple. Unable to walk, this man was placed “…beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple” (Acts 3:2 NLT). Then, here came Peter and John. The man asked these two disciples for some money, and Peter said, “’Look at us!’ The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, 'I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!'" (V. 5-6). And he did!
I would beg to say that people had prayed for this man to be healed. In all likelihood, he prayed for himself. But I wonder if he would have never been healed had not a couple of disciples came along and used their faith in Christ to make the unseen fruit come into sight?
Do you pray with the faith that God Can or the faith that God Will?
Don’t get me wrong, the prayers that were lifted-up for this beggar were NOT worthless.
God can do anything. No doubt about it! Matthew 19:26 says, “Jesus looked at them intently and said, ‘Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.'"
I want to pray with more faith, fervency, and passion. I want to pray with the faith that if it be his desire, God will. This doesn’t mean we just get whatever we want; rather, it proclaims that we are walking by faith, not by sight.
Jesus says, “You don’t have enough faith. I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible” (Matthew 17:20).
True faith, a faith that says, ‘God Will,’ not only involves an all-possible God, it makes an all-possible you.
So does prayer leave us hanging? As much as we may wonder sometimes, I don’t believe it does. God definitely doesn’t leave us on our own. He never abandons us, ignores us, or refuses to hear our prayers. Instead, he just wants to develop our faith and trust in him.
Don’t say Amen too fast. Give God time to talk too! Don’t doubt when you can’t see it.
You may be only one faithful, God Will prayer away from something miraculous—just like Peter and John. And if not, keep proclaiming that God Will!