. . .he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
The angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah when he was in the temple of the Lord praying that his wife would bear a son named John. His son John, later to be known as John the Baptist, prepared the way for the coming Messiah. Zechariah did not believe God, so God made him silent until the baby was born. What catches my attention in this story is that Zechariah had been praying when God appeared and spoke. Zechariah was in the Presence of God, praying to God, and yet he did not believe God.
Sometimes we pray, and when God answers our prayers we do not recognize His answer, or we choose not to believe this is His answer.
Scriptures tell us that God is attentive to our prayers, and when we pray in faith, we must believe that He answers. The problem is that we don’t believe.
Perhaps the answer to our prayer is different than we expect, or perhaps our prayers do not line up with the will of God. Nevertheless, when we pray, we are called to believe and expect that God will answer.
Prayer is communicating with God, seeking His will, and sharing our heart. Luke tells us in the gospel of Luke that we must ask, seek, and knock with bold prayers, expecting God to answer: So I say to you: 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. (Luke 11:9-10)
James explains that we do not get answers to our prayers because we ask with the wrong motives: When you ask you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend on your own pleasures. (James 4:3)
Prayer is not intended to procure what we want for ourselves; prayer is our communication with God, connecting with Him to understand what is on His heart. Naturally we pray for things on our hearts, our concerns and needs, but the distinguishing factor is our motive.
Jesus said the prayer that touches the heart of God begins with your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9) When we seek God in prayer, our ultimate goal is for God’s will to be done.
Forgive me for my selfish prayers. Thank you for reminding me that prayer is communicating with You and sharing my heart. My desire is that You will share Your heart with me.
In Jesus’ name, Amen