Action Catalyst Blog

The Mysterious Ways of Prayer


I understand why it is hard for people to believe in the power of prayer.

Because I have learned that prayer does not often work in the way that you think it would.

If I pray for abundance then I expect money to fall from the sky.

If I pray for health then I expect a bubble of protection to be around me at all times.

If I pray for patience then I expect a transformation in my heart to take place comfortably while I am asleep.

If I pray for love then I expect that someone who adores me will immediately show up.

Those are the answers to prayers that would make sense to me. Maybe because those are the answers to prayers that would be easiest for me.

But it never quite seems to work out that way.

What if when you prayed for abundance an overwhelming flow of emails and tasks and to do items and stress showed up?

What if when you prayed for health your car didn’t start?

When if when you prayed for patience your laptop broke?

What if when you prayed for love you ended up completely lonely?

Those would not feel like answered prayers; they would feel like problems.

And in the midst of those problems it would be very easy and seem very fair to look up and be angry for the circumstances that showed up.

But yet…

What if buried under all of those emails are the very opportunities that create the path towards abundance?

What if the car that didn’t start prevented you from being in a terrible accident just minutes down the road?

What if the computer that didn’t turn on strengthened muscles inside of you that you rarely work?

And what if that lonely time that you spent allowed you to learn to love yourself first?

I don’t pretend to know the way that God works.

But God does say in Isaiah 55:8-9 “for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways… My ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.”

According to that, I guess it does at least make sense that prayers would likely not be answered in the way I would expect.

So it is at least “possible” that the things that show up in our lives as problems really could be unexpected answers to our prayers.

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