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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Remember: God Answers Prayer!

This past week I had a very interesting conversation with a member of our parish. She told me the story of how she was sitting in church one Sunday morning and looking around at all the people. As she looked at our faces, she thought about all of the prayers people say every week, month after month, year after year. And then she realized and was awe-struck at all of the prayers God is continually answering. God hears our prayers and answers them on a regular basis.

I was very moved with this woman’s observation. It is very beneficial for all of us to reflect upon how God is continually answering our prayers. As you read this article, I invite you to take a moment and think about a prayer you have offered to God. And then think about how God has answered that prayer for you.
Here is a good example. For four years our whole congregation prayed that Atem would be re-united with his wife, Rebecca, and then also with his son, Mabior. Think of all the prayers that were offered on behalf of Atem and his family. And then in January Rebecca and Mabior moved here to Tacoma and were re-united with Atem. This is a powerful example of how God answers prayer and how important it is for us to be persistent in prayer over time.

It is also helpful for us to reflect upon the various ways God answers our prayers. For example, God may not answer our prayers in the way we expect them. Sometimes God’s timing is not exactly what we hope for. God has his own plan and timing. Yet, very often God answers our prayers in ways beyond our dreams and expectations. We should take great encouragement in this and be inspired to continue our lives of prayer.

I find that when I pray God doesn’t always change the situation I am praying about. But what God does do through prayer is that he changes me. One of the great ways God answers prayer is that he gives us strength and courage. He gives us peace and comfort. He gives us wisdom and guidance. Strength, courage, peace, comfort, wisdom, and guidance. These are good things to pray for ourselves and for others. These are things that God blesses us with when we pray.

All of this is to say that we should be encouraged in our practice of prayer. God is continually hearing and answering our prayers. It is up to us to keep praying and then to open our eyes to see the ways he answers our prayers. We will be moved to praise and thanksgiving.

The Lord bless you and keep you.
Fr. Paul +