Deep Thoughts on Prayer

“The earthly-minded person thinks and imagines that when he prays, the important thing – the thing he must concentrate upon – is that God should hear what he is praying for. And yet in the true, eternal sense it is just the reverse: the true relation in prayer is not when God hears what is prayed for, but when the person praying continues to pray until he is the one who hears – who hears what God is asking for” (Søren Kierkegaard, Provocations).

I have been guilty of treating the Almighty God like a celestial vending machine. I insert my prayer and hope for the spiritual blessing equivalent of a Kit Kat or a Mello Yello. My prayers tend to be one-sided with me reading off my laundry list of wants and wishes.

I wonder often why I never seem to hear from God.

Perhaps He is speaking, but I haven’t cultivated the discipline of listening. Maybe I haven’t learned how to quiet and still my mind for the still small voice that can easily be drowned out by all the noises both without and within.

Oswald Chambers, writer of the classic devotional My Utmost for His Highest, once said something to the effect of how prayer doesn’t change things, but prayer changes me and I change things.

I do think that prayer often changes my perspective on my circumstances rather than changing my circumstances. Maybe that’s when I can finally get to the place where I can hear the questions God is asking me.

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