By Mark Azzara
I often receive prayer requests from others and, a few years ago, I decided to forward them to people I know who I believe would share in these prayers. Some of those who have received these requests have told me how grateful they are to receive them, not only because they feel privileged to be able to join in the prayer but because these requests remind them how blessed they are.
I send these prayer requests simply in the belief that God will hear the prayers of those who are moved by his heart to entrust the problems we see into his hands.
There are times in the midst of prayer when I’ve thought to myself: If things get worse or if someone dies, then my prayer was meaningless, a waste of time. But the thing that keeps me doing this is that my prayer always, always, always connects me more deeply to Jesus in some way, and also connects the person for whom I pray to God. And what a blessing that is.
Prayer forces me to surrender all my understanding to God. For example, I have to get over the idea that prayer will turn the world into heaven on earth. It won’t. Prayer is about trusting God. Period. Trusting in his goodness, not my idea of his goodness. Trusting in his mercy, not my idea of his mercy. Trusting in his wisdom, not my idea of his wisdom.
Nobody would believe in Jesus as our savior and Lord for very long, or pray for very long, if we expected the world to make sense as a result of our prayers. The world doesn’t make sense. That’s what original sin is all about. But God still does make sense. Perfect sense. And every time I pray I connect with that Truth more deeply.
Even if the person for whom I pray doesn’t receive what I’m asking for, I and the other person both can know that God still makes sense, and will ultimately (in heaven) make sense of everything for those who trust in him now.
He will show us that praying now was not meaningless or a waste of time because, by doing so, we were constantly trusting God and thus always giving glory to him, which is precisely what we were designed by Him to do.
All God’s blessings – Mark
Join SpokaneFāVS for a Coffee Talk on the “Role of Prayer” on 10 a.m., Dec. 2 in the Jepson Center at Gonzaga University.
Mark Azzara spent 45 years in print journalism, most of them with the Waterbury Republican in Connecticut, where he was a features writer with a special focus on religion at the time of his retirement. He also worked for newspapers in New Haven and Danbury, Conn. At the latter paper, while sports editor, he won a national first-place writing award on college baseball. Azzara also has served as the only admissions recruiter for a small Catholic college in Connecticut and wrote a self-published book on spirituality, “And So Are You.” He is active in his church and facilitates two Christian study groups for men. Azzara grew up in southern California, graduating from Cal State Los Angeles. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut.