I recently had a conversation with a close friend and she told me of someone who was going through a really difficult time and was inconsolable because of her situation. I found myself saying ‘tell your friend to pray about it’. My friend responded with annoyance and said that the person does go to church (most Sundays in fact) and she prays.
At first I was a little taken aback by the annoyance. But as I started thinking more about what I said, I realized I fell in the trap of saying the common ‘pray about it’ phrase and how empty it can sound without context.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 says For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
When you search for God with all your heart, you start to build a personal relationship with Him. Think of when you first met the love of your life or someone you really cared about. You did everything you could to get to know them better. You talked on the phone for hours. You thought about them all the time. You couldn’t wait for the next time you’d see each other again.
That’s what it feels like when you wholeheartedly seek a relationship with God. It becomes more than just a Sunday morning routine or an absent prayer. It becomes a love relationship where you can’t wait to talk with God and share your hopes and disappointments. He becomes that friend that you can go to for guidance and lean on for peace and comfort. Difficult times are inevitable in our life, but imagine how much harder life can be without really knowing God’s love, comfort and peace.
In a loving relationship, there’s trust, understanding, forgiveness, unconditional love and a desire to know each other better. You can have that with God but He does ask that you earnestly seek Him in return. Prayer without a relationship with God is tough because you won’t believe He has good plans for your life. If you don’t really know Him then it’s hard to trust Him. Through God’s words and prayer you can really get to know Him and start to trust Him. As you study the Bible you’ll see proof that God keeps His promises.
Isaiah 55:8-9 says; “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are My ways your ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
God can see beyond your current circumstances. His ways and thoughts are higher than any human being. And while your friends and families can offer you comfort and advice even their perception is limited. Praying while you’re earnestly seeking God allows you to accept that His ways and thoughts are higher than yours. So while you may not understand the reasons for some of the difficulties you face, you can find comfort in God’s Word that He has plans for you that are for good and not for disaster, plans for a future with hope.
So now the next time a friend is facing a difficult time, I’ll think twice about saying ‘pray about it’, at least not without adding context to that statement. Perhaps I can say ‘I’m so sorry you’re having a difficult time. And while I may not have the words to console you, please know that God has good plans for you. Pray and earnestly seek Him and He will get you through this difficult time’. That’s His promise to you and He keeps His promises!
Do you often say ‘pray about it’? What’s the reaction you get? I would love to hear your feedback on this. Please comment below.
- Is Prayer Enough When Times Are Hard? - April 5, 2014
- Oh Heavenly Father, How Great Thou Art! - March 11, 2014
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