Hollywood hasn’t been praised too often for getting something spiritually correct, however in the movie Evan Almighty, Morgan Freeman (who plays God) is having a conversation with Evan’s wife about answering prayers. He tells her, “Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?” This is so true. How many times do we pray for specific things in our lives like peace, patience or self-control, and instead God gives us opportunities, not results? How many times too do we pray for something with certain expectations and God answers our prayers, but not at all the way we intended?
Matthew 7:7-8 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
God equips us, he doesn’t just give it to us – he makes us value the gift and keeps us on His path! What have you prayed for and received answers to? Were they in the way you asked or in God’s way?
Jesus instructs on prayer by explaining it to us on exactly how we should pray, “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:5-14)