Prayer is one of the mysteries that I’m sure we’ll never fully get. How does it work when know-nothing creatures ask their creator for something or just talk to him? Doesn’t he already know what’s going on? Shouldn’t he just give us what we need? Why would an all-knowing God expect us to ask him for what he knows we already need? And why would he sometimes answer our prayers and sometimes say no? Shouldn’t God just take care of the details and let us get back to studying theology??? snicker, snicker.
In CS Lewis’ book, The Magician’s Nephew, one of the main characters named Digory asks this very question, “Why doesn’t Aslan just give me what he knows I need?” The reply of a talking horse, NOT Mr. Ed (for the love, you people act like I’ve never heard that one before!!!), is, “I think he likes to be asked.” Before we write off Aslan, God, or both of them, think about that for a second.
God wants us to ask him for things, to talk to him about what’s going on, and then to hear him out and let him work. The word I’m looking for is Relationship. God is most interested in changing, saving, redeeming, and loving us. He is making us into new people. (and if you’re wondering, parts of this are paraphrased from Mere Christianity). And so prayer is part of building the relationship. We let go of our cares, we listen to God, we hear him, and then act in obedience.
The point of a healing or miracle is not just the physical or spiritual action, it’s also deepening of a relationship. If suffering brings us closer to God, then that will happen. If healing and restoration are needed to bring us closer, then he will work through that as well. I think that I tend to think God wants us just to suffer and get closer to him. But that’s only half of it. He also wants to bring abundance of life to us. He wants to bless. The problem is that we often look for blessings in the wrong places (material and money).
So as Paul said, let us approach the throne of grace with confidence.