Have you ever been talking to someone on the phone, only to realize that the connection has been lost? Sometimes prayer feels that way. While I’m praying through a list of people and things, giving thanks and asking for help, the feeling creeps up that I’m putting someone to sleep (actually, if it’s the first thing in the morning, there’s a real chance that I put myself to sleep).
I know God listens. I John 5:14 says that we can be confident that our Lord hears us when we pray according to His will. So talking to God comes down to that same question that overshadows so many important decisions: what is the will of God?
Fortunately, that’s not too hard of a question to answer when you look at it from the right perspective. Scriptures such as I Peter 2:15, I Thes. 4:3, and I Thes. 5:8 spell out the will of God as doing good, your sanctification, and giving thanks. Even when discussing the serious matter of marriage in I Corinthians 7, the main concern seems to be whether it will inhibit one’s service to the Lord.
So then, to be heard by God is not so much a matter of knowing what He plans on doing with the concerns of life, but whether my prayer is out of a desire to serve and submit to Him. For example, don’t worry about whether or not God’s will is to heal the cancer of an acquaintance; pray with a heart that knows He wants to heal the sin-cancer still afflicting each imperfect person not yet in the presence of our Lord.
I have a goal to pray about. In order to leave for Brazil in April, I will need to visit with 9 people every week until then, or receive one-time gifts from over 40 different churches. This is wildly ambitious, and perhaps not achievable. But as I ask you to pray with me, remember that God is even more concerned with a goal elevated far beyond raising money; a servant, purified and obedient.