You may wonder how much more you can take. Just yesterday, I read about “zombie cicada” invading the state of West Virginia. Before that, I heard stories about murder hornets, toxic toads, and killer wasps. The irony is, with the way 2020 is going, these headlines are mild in comparison. A recent Facebook post sums it up, “Can we all agree that in 2015 not a single person got the answer correct to ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’”
You may also wonder, on a deeper level, if God hears your prayers. I’m sure many of you are fervently praying for an end to COVID 19. I pray daily for healing of our country and world, and for leadership that shows at least some compassion. As we wake up to bad news day after day, it is tempting to think that God does not hear our prayers of lament.
I encourage you to not ask if God is answering your prayers, but how God is answering your prayers. Very often, we expect God’s answer to look a certain way, fulfill an expectation, or that He answer immediately. Yet, our God is a God of mystery. The answers to our prayers often come in surprising ways.
My Spiritual Director taught me how to keep a “Prayer Journal.” The point of the journal was to track my prayers. He said, “Write the prayer and notice what happens as you pray? Where do you notice God answering that prayer? Jot down the prayer, the date of the prayer and how and when God answered your prayer. Always give thanks for His answers.” What a learning experience that was. My spiritual director still reminds me that we sometimes need to change what we pray for. It is important to ask what Holy Spirit is praying and join Him in that prayer. It’s amazing how quickly God answers your prayer when aligned with God’s heart and prayer for you.
In a recent prayer I asked God, “What are You doing amid Covid 19?” Perhaps it was more of an accusation of absence, I’m not sure. Regardless, I didn’t just want to know—I needed to know. What I saw next surprised me. Two enormous hands scooped together several baby chicks, yet still reached out for the one running away from the group. God’s peace washed over me. God knew that I needed reassurance that He was still there—that God’s light was brighter than this present darkness.
Matthew 23:37 came to mind, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (NIV)
Trust that God has not left you nor forsaken you. God answers your prayer. Today, when you cry out, ask how God is answering your prayer—not if. God knows what you need even before the words leave your lips.
Are you feeling discouraged? Do you want to be encouraged? I invite you to join the new Group Friendly Fridays on the C.L. Burger page on Face Book. God may use you to answer someone else’s prayer.