I don’t know that I know how to pray. I often wonder if the words I say are words that move God or if they are simply words that float around, landing no where. I pray daily. I pray hourly. I believe in prayer. I believe it is a great mystery. I believe that God cares. But I am not sure if prayer is really as much about moving the heart of God as much as it is about having my heart moved.
When asked what the work of the Lord is, Jesus answered, “To believe in the one who was sent.” That seems like odd work. It seems, in words, that it’s not that much work at all. Work has more to do with what I can accomplish and what I can do with my hands or how I spend my time or even preaching, teaching, and going into all the world. Isn’t that the work?
But Jesus’ answer was not, go into all the world, His answer was to believe.
In the years since reading this passage and coming to believe it is true, the work of prayer has become more about belief and changing my belief than it’s come about begging. Prayer has become a place where I do the work of belief. I pray so much, begging God to move that eventually I come to a place of deep belief that God is good. How that happens I do not know, nor do I understand. It seems a bit crazy that unanswered prayers would actually lead to deeper belief, but that is what has happened.
My prayers have become places of deep confession of unbelief and desperate cries of belief. Belief is work and it is life changing.
Prayer is a mystery and it is a mystery in which I’m so thankful to participate. For I know… that this work of wrestling to belief is actually changing me and is causing me to live differently. Belief is active. It is a full contact sport. It is not a matter of the mind alone. No, belief is the movement of complete trust. Belief is the man with the withered hand stretching out his hand, the blind man going to the pool to wash his eyes, the lame man picking up his mat to walk. Belief is the active movement of total agreement that God is capable of the impossible and has accomplished it in me or in any given circumstance.
It is the work of belief that tears of grief are met with the hand of God and the next step of obedience is taken. Yes, I don’t know how to pray, but I’m learning to believe. I think, somewhere in the belief I am able to pray and in that place Jesus connects me to the Father and He hears my prayers.