In our adult Sunday school class yesterday we talked about the value of prayer. Someone asked “What exactly happens when we pray?” Saturday, I had been reading over the scripture I was to read for the service and it included Jesus’ promise that if we ask anything in his name, he would do it, so I already had been thinking about prayer and the great resource that can be to us as we face the difficulties and quandaries of life. The thoughts had been percolating in my mind even while I slept.
What exactly happens when we pray? Many answers to that question come from past experience. When we pray we connect to a power greater than we possess. When we pray, we take the focus off of our anxiety and frustration and we zero in on the one who loves us more than we can ever understand. When we pray we learn to trust. Sometimes, we are able let go of the urgency and are content to wait for the answer. That in itself can be a difficult but freeing step for one who wants to do something about it now!
Guess, though, what I found myself saying in reply to that question yesterday morning. I hadn’t even formulated it in my own mind, and I’m not sure if I have done so yet. I expect I am going to be mulling it over in my mind for some time to come. But here it is, if not in the exact words, it is the idea.
“God made me in the beginning, and he made me more complex then I have discovered even in all the years I have lived. Sometimes when I pray for strength, or wisdom, or guidance, I think in that quiet prayer-time, God just leads me in an archaeological “dig” to find what he already placed inside me. Together we find the strength, the wisdom the understanding that fits the moment—the answer to my prayer. He gently brushes off the dirt in which it has been buried, hands it to me and with a pat on my back says ‘There you go!’”
Far from putting me on an ego trip, leaving me saying, “So I have all I need within me, I don’t need God.” I am humbled to know a bit more about how God made me. That knowledge makes me even more aware of how closely I should work with my maker. Who would know better how to make something work right, how to fully utilize the inner workings and possibilities that the maker himself? To try on my own to use all that I have been given is like trying to figure out all that can be done with my computer by trial and error only. I most certainly will never find that out on my own. But if I could work closely with the maker of my Dell Laptop and with Bill Gates, for instance, I would find within its 12”x15”x 2” makeup, many applications of which I now know nothing.
Writing has been a revelation in that area. Often as I sit writing, ideas come to me and they’re formed into words as my hands operate the keyboard. Sometimes I am amazed when I read them over again. Did I really write that?