My friend Rich Dixon often has questions. I’m grateful for them. Like these today.
He said, “God doesn’t answer vague prayers.”
I have questions.
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A few years back I met a nationally well-known pastor. Leads a huge, multi-campus church. Energetic. Charismatic. Friendly. Two minutes with him (about all you got) and you could see why people were eager to follow him.
I still read some of his writing – it’s impossible to follow everything he publishes – and this morning his proclamation about vague prayers got me wondering.
He was convicted a while back because his prayers were so murky and undefined there was no way to know if God answered them or not. He encouraged us to pray specifically so God would know exactly what we wanted Him to do.
I’m not a theology guy. This man has a PhD and leads thousands of people. I’m absolutely sure he knows more about the bible and God and prayer than I do. I’m just an old math teacher who rides bikes.
But I have questions.
Is there a scoreboard? Is knowing whether God answered my prayer (gave me what I asked for) the point?
Whose plan is it? Jesus’ guideline for prayer included, “Your will be done.” Doesn’t that mean I’m supposed try to conform to His plan?
Who gets changed? Does prayer change God, or does prayer change me?
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I used to think “prayer” meant “Hey God, here’s a list of all the stuff I want you to do.”
Now I’m less sure what it is, except I’m pretty sure it’s not that. I think it’s mystery and miracle, a gift of conversation between me and Infinite Creator.
I don’t know how it works.
Of course I share my fears, concerns, and desires, but I want to honestly say, “Your will be done.”
Didn’t Jesus say that, right before He sacrificed His life?
Does prayer change God, or does prayer change me?