Today, a politician who was in a heated primary election, said at a press conference, "My prayers have been answered." Presumably, his opponent was saying, "Mine weren't." A freakishly fast sprinter won her gold medal today. She pointed to heaven. I assume she was thinking, "Thanks, big guy" or "Hey, the credit is all yours." Maybe the 4th place finisher said, "God, I guess you have something else in mind." People in Houston said, "We prayed Hurricane Ernesto would spare us and our prayers were answered." Meanwhile, flooded residents of the Yucatan were saying, "God why didn't you spare us?"
I may be in a minority but, I don't think God had a direct hand in any of those things. What would be his metric? The area with the most people praying gets the good stuff? Whoever prays the longest, or hardest, or most eloquently gets the prize? Christians or Americans get their prayers answered first? Silliness.
I believe prayer is a mystery. Prayer is so much more than cause and effect. Prayer cannot be reduced to a "to do" list for our Maker.
I believe prayer shapes us. It shapes our initiative and response. Prayer triggers resources and power we could not muster on our own. Prayer ripens over days and years. I don't believe in prayer as a meritorious endeavor. Prayer is a conversation between intimates that renews, challenges, twists and turns, but always communicates love. Prayer opens up eternity to the here and now. Prayer is oxygen for the soul.
I believe God looks down on winners and losers and says one thing, "I love you and I want you to know how much."
Will you pray today?