The Mystery of Prayer


Keep on asking and the gift will be given to you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking and the door will be open to you.”

~Matthew 7:7, The Williams Translation


Prayer is an enigma wrapped in a conundrum inside a mystery.


An enigma is something that is hard to understand or explain. A conundrum is something that is confusing, different, problematic and puzzling. A mystery is something that is impossible to understand. I think you will agree, prayer is all three. The verbs ask, seek and knock are all present active infinitives. My Greek professors in Seminary would read Matthew 7:7 like this…Ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking; knock and keep on knocking. The Williams translation captures the tense of the verbs. It is also in the imperative voice: Jesus did not say, “I think it would be a good idea for you to pray.” No, it is an imperative command…ask and keep on asking. So we are instructed to pray and to ask when we pray.

Let me ask you a question: do you get what you ask for when you pray? I literally prayed for God to intervene and save President Trump from his enemies yet God did not intervene. Matter of fact, He allowed the dems to cheat and did nothing to stop it. I knew all alone only He could stop them but He choose not to. At first I was devastated: why didn’t He answer my prayer. I don’t know why anyone would ask me to pray for them; my batting average is well below .200. With an average like that I couldn’t stay in the minor leagues let alone the major league. This low average in getting prayers answered is not going to stop me from praying, but it is awful discouraging. I do have to admit that had I been in the garden of Gethsemane with Jesus as He prayed; I would have begged the Father to spare His life. I would have pleaded, “Father, don’t make Him drink this bitter cup; He doesn’t deserve this.” On the cross, Jesus did drank the bitter cup of God’s wrath upon sin and sinners. Had Jesus not done that for me, I would have had to drink that cup myself. My inability to see the future would have prompted me to pray for my own damnation.

Mary and Martha prayed for Jesus to come and heal their brother but Jesus did not answer their prayer. They had no idea what Jesus was up to but He had something greater than a healing in mind. This doesn’t mean that it was wrong for them to pray or that it was a waste of time. Jesus did not fuss at them for asking but He did go far beyond their wildest imagination when He answered their prayer His way and in His time.

So if God is omnipotent and He already knows what He is going to do: why do we need to pray? God is too wise and too powerful to allow mere humans to influence his divine will or to manipulate Him in any way. So if prayer has no influence on God and changes nothing, why pray? Well first of all and actually the only reason we need is that Jesus commanded us to pray. Pray obviously has an influence on God, why else would Jesus ask His disciples to pray along with Him in Gethsemane. We have to face the truth: PRAYER IS A MYSTERY and it is impossible for us to understand. We cannot reconcile our responsibility to ask with His responsibility to do what is right. James said, “You have not because you ask not.” This verse proves that prayer makes a difference.We do not have to understand the mystery of prayer in order for prayer to work. We simply ask and keep on asking. When He doesn’t answer our prayers the way we think He ought, there is a reason. We may not know what the reason is but this is a part of the faith package: we simply trust that He knows best.

Richard Fuller captures my sentiment in verse…

I will not doubt, though all my prayers return unanswered from the still, white realm above. I will believe in His all-wise, unconditional love which has refused these things for which I yearn; and though at times I cannot keep from grieving, undimmed shall burn the ardor of my fixed believing.

Vellene had a better day yesterday, not as much pain. She is still in Decatur Morgan Hospital. I think they are planning to move her back to Priceville but I do no know for sure.

Pruitt Livingstone’s COLS is tomorrow at 2:00. Grave side at Johnson’s Chapel.

My weather apt predicted a low of 30 last night but I don’t think it got that cold. According the apt today, the low was 32 and it is already going up. There was no frost again today which is good. If the wind keeps blowing, we probably will not get frost.

We have a busy weekend and it begins this evening. I always need prayer but I really need it this weekend. Wedding rehearsal tonight, work day in the morning at the POINT, Pruitt’s COLS tomorrow at 2:00, wedding tomorrow evening at 5:00, Sunrise Sunday am 6:30, second service at 7:15 and then five more interviews with the grands. That is a little too much for a 27 year old but I aint complaining; just asking for prayer.

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