Dec. 5th, 2023

Teach Us to Pray




LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. —PSALM 143:1 (NIV)


When I pray, I tend to get pretty specific. Like my tenyear old writing his Christmas list, I know exactly what I want and when I want it. Maybe you do the same. We pray for loved ones to be cured. We pray for that baby we have always wanted. We pray for the money to send our kids to college. We pray for health so that we can actually enjoy our retirement. We pray for us to find our person who will be steady and get along with our friends. You can see how quickly our prayers might become transactional: “God, if this would happen, THEN I would be so grateful, my life would be complete, THEN I would be happy.” But what happens when our prayers aren’t answered the way we expected? When there is no cure. When the baby doesn’t come. When we don’t find our person. When our kid doesn’t want to go to college. When our spouse dies before retirement. When we expected a savior and we got a vulnerable infant. We had hoped for someday, but that someday is not today. Perhaps, it is in this exact place—a little scared, a little disappointed, a little hopeful—where we might learn something about prayer.

God is working to redeem not only your story, but the story of the whole world—both of which don’t happen on any timeline I would pick. One life, one person’s story is full of breaking and redeeming. We see this in the life of Jesus—there are times of miracle births; there is time of waiting in the wilderness. There are times of healing; there are times of mourning. There are times of crucifixion and times of resurrection. The breaking and healing of the world takes time. When we cry out to God just as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane—“God take this cup from me” (Luke 22:42)—our voice joins the chorus of the fellowship of the afflicted. And while quick solutions would be preferred, I take comfort in knowing I don’t cry out alone. And my cries do not fall on unlistening ears. So if today is not your day of wholeness or hope... let’s look around at others and see where God is working in their lives. Maybe see where we can make their loads a little lighter. Together, may we become people who look for signs of hope and act in hope while we wait.



for when you feel forgotten by God (p. 106)


God, please start it now: the promised healing, restoration, redemption. I can’t wait much longer.



1. What have you been expecting from God? What are your unanswered prayers… and how do they make you feel toward God?

2. What is your relationship like to prayer? Do you pray for specific things or for generalities? What do you think your way of praying says about your hopes?