Expectant Prayer: Looking for Answers?
A book came into my hands when I was in college entitled, How Big is Your God? by J B Phillips. I don’t remember much from that book except that it dealt with how the expectancy of answered prayers and the daring in our requests is greatly affected by our perception of God. We pray small because we expect small answers.
Things haven’t changed much since the earliest century of Christianity.
I was reading my Bible one day and came across the following report from the early church:
Acts 12: 5-16: “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him . . . Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell . . . the chains fell off Peter’s wrists . . . They [Peter and the angel] passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened by itself and they went through it . . . he [Peter] went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many were praying . . . and a servant girl answered the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice . . . she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, ‘Peter is at the door!’ . . . ‘You’re out of your mind,’ they told her . . . ‘It must be his angel [ghost]’ . . . Peter kept on knocking . . . when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished!”
The people had been praying for Peter’s protection and release, but when he stood before them, they were “astonished”!! Did they not really believe their prayers would be answered? Perhaps not.
Often in the midst of trouble we pray fervently to God for our need or the need of someone else. But in that time of calling out to God, do we pray with expectancy? Do we believe our prayers will be answered?
Prayers should not be merely well chosen words that have only an appearance of faith.
About 25 years ago my husband was serving as youth director at a small church in S. Easton, MA. One Sunday morning the pastor’s young daughter shared that she had lost her favorite doll while shopping with her mom in a department store. She didn’t notice the loss until they got home from shopping. She was very upset, so her mom went back to the store to inquire about the lost doll. It had not been found or turned in to the lost and found.
That morning I felt moved by the Lord to pray out loud during the open prayer time that Kirsty’s doll would be found to show her how much God loved her.
Later that evening Kirsty’s mom phoned me. She said that when I prayed the prayer she was very skeptical about my request and was concerned that if the doll was not found it would hurt her daughter’s faith and she would have to do spiritual repair work.
However, at her daughter’s insistence, despite her own resistance, they returned to the store and discovered that the doll had been found that very day.
We should not be surprised when answers come to our prayers; even the most brazen, audacious requests. We should have thankful hearts, ready to give praise to the One who invites us to pray, guides us in what to pray through His Holy Spirit, and sends the answer at the proper time.
Father, I thank you for access to Your throne room. I want to learn from You how to use that marvelous privilege of prayer in a way that whispers to Your heart, “I trust You.
My Dad is the biggest and He loves me.
How about you? How big is your God?
©2011, Marcy Alves
Posted on July 30, 2011, in Christian Growth, Follow Me, God Encounters, Reflections and tagged 1st century church, answered prayer, believing, Bible, Christianity, expectant prayer, faith, God, Holy Spirit, prayer, Saint Peter, Simon Peter, trust, trusting God. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.