This is your weekly reminder that we are fasting and praying on Monday at lunch for the Lord to bring men and women into relationship with Him, for men to become leaders in relationships, for women to see and change in those areas of our hearts that aren’t in harmony with and obedient to Christ, and for God-honoring marriages to be given to those who desire them.
Welcome to Monday. Mondays for me are always about prying my eyes open and trying to face the world. Currently, that world is a swirling mess. It seems like most of my life is in transition: church, job, small groups, ministries, and possibly, housing.
All this transition… except in the one area that I want the most: I still see no “progress” or tangible hope that God has my relationship status on His to-do list. And, as usual, my only option is to fluff my hair, participate in Wear-a-Dress Week,* and pray.
Also, as usual, I wrestle with whether or not prayer really amounts to anything.
As God would have it, my new small group is covering the topic of prayer this fall, and earlier this week, we launched into discussing the purpose of prayer, the pain of seemingly unanswered prayer, and prayer’s power. My thoughts naturally turned to the FastPray community.
We’ve seen God bring about marriages—that tangible “answer.” But, on the flip side, many of us are still experiencing silence, stagnant dating waters, and no tangible, statistical hope. While the group was discussing prayer and Acts 12 (James’s execution and Peter’s miraculous escape from prison), my heart asked questions:
- Does prayer cause God to act?
- Is prayer really about outcomes and answers at all?
- When God brings about what you’ve been praying for, is your prayer more effective than the person who didn’t see the answer they wanted?
Tough stuff for the first night of a new community group, right? It could have been easy to get lost in some of the intellectual and logical debate, but in that moment, I was so thankful for this community. The answers to those questions are an integral part of how we pray within this community.
Here’s how the Holy Spirit encouraged my heart:
Is prayer really about outcomes and answers at all? Yes. Prayer is about outcomes and answers. We are commanded to bring our prayers and petitions before God boldly and expect answers (while acknowledging that we often cannot even understand God’s answers).
Does prayer cause God to act? Yes. In His grace to us as believers, He allows our prayers to be apart of Him accomplishing His will. Prayer is not just a mystical experience with God, but instead—it is effective action. We may not be able to measure that effectiveness, but we can trust that God wants us to be active participants in His will.
When God brings about what you’ve been praying for, is your prayer more effective than the person who didn’t see the answer they wanted? No. God in His sovereignty chooses to act for His glory and our good. Prayer is about asking God, yes, but it is also about wrestling with Him. (Somehow, that struggle is a means of grace in our lives—see Emily’s post last week.)
For us, we come to God asking for marriage, heart change for women, and courage for men. We come—not in arrogance—saying, “We want to be married! Therefore, we deserve it, God!”
Instead, we say, “God, here is my heart’s desire. Here is my weakness. Here is… me.” And, by praying, we are acknowledging that in this time and place, God is choosing to use singleness in our lives to prune away the dead branches and grow us into Christ’s likeness.
We just have to enter the wrestling match. He’ll take care of the rest.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)
Wrestling with you,