My son is an attorney at a New York City law firm. As busy as he is, he always finds time to give me a call, or answer when I call him. A couple of days ago he said, “Mom, I’m swamped. I pulled an all-nighter last night, and it looks like I am going to have to pull another one tonight.” He sounded tired. I said, “Christian, I’m going to pray for you.” We have talked a lot about the power of prayer, so I wasn’t surprised by his quick response, “thanks Mom, I appreciate that.”
Did either of us think that praying would get his work done or help him achieve an extra hour of sleep? No, but Scripture tells us that “the prayer from the heart of a righteous person has much power with God.” (James 5:16b) When prayers are answered according to the desires of our heart, we are elated. But there are times when it is unlikely that our prayers will take away our trouble or even change our circumstance. Yet, we feel calm and comforted after praying. That is working prayer.
These are times when the answer to our prayers is a ‘spirit of acquiescence’ that is poured into us. We pray and sense the faithful presence of God wrapping around us. His grace is sufficient for us. We are calmed and comforted and accept our circumstances. We acquiesce. We are given the strength to stay up one more night. Our prayer is working.
We see this in King David who pleaded for the life of his ill son. When his child died, he stopped pleading, wiped away his tears and worshipped God. His prayer did not save his child, but it brought divine comfort into David’s heart. His prayer was working.
Jesus’ experience in the garden is also an example of working prayer. Prayer that is answered without changing the situation. “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” The answer to Jesus’ prayer to the Father came in the form of Divine Strength that calmed His anguish and helped Him complete His work on the Cross. “Father, not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
When we have a heavy burden and pray, our answer is either the resolution of the problem, or it is divine work in our heart which fills us with the living water of God’s grace. The grace of strength, courage, and peace to bear the burdens of this life. Perhaps, there is even greater blessing in working prayer that gets us through our trial and draws us closer to the Lord in faith and trust, than there is in prayer that immediately erases all of our trouble. Keep praying friends.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 1 John 5:14-15