One morning while we waited for Ricky to bring our breakfast, Stan said, “I was reading in the Book of Acts the other day and had a good laugh!”
“A good laugh?” I responded. “About what?”
“Being amazed when God answers prayers, rather than expecting His answers,” he replied.
“Being amazed at answers rather than expecting them? Why did that make you laugh?”
“Well,” Stan said, “there’s a story about people in the early church who were praying for the apostle Peter, and when God answered their prayers they responded just like I do sometimes, and it made me laugh to think I’m no different. I pray without really believing that God is going to answer.”
“Pray without believing that God is going to answer your prayers?” I said. “You do that?”
“Sorry to have to admit that,” Stan replied, “but, yeah, sometimes I do.”
I didn’t respond, so he continued. “Peter had been locked up in jail and it looked like he might be executed. Some people in the church were praying for him. When, by nothing other than God’s movement in answer to their prayers, Peter showed up and knocked on their door, the people were amazed.”
“So they didn’t really expect God to answer their prayers,” I commented. “Is that it?”
“Maybe some of them did,” Stan said, “I don’t know. But what I do know is that when the people in their amazement finally realized that God had answered their prayers, it probably changed forever their perspective on praying. And it’s to be the same for me.”
“Pray in accordance with God’s will and expect that He will answer,” Stan replied. “Not pray halfheartedly and then be amazed when He answers.”
Bible verses to consider:
(The full story of Peter’s release from jail is in Acts of the Apostles 12:1-15.)
But Peter continued knocking and when they had opened the door, they saw him and were amazed. Matthew 12:16.
And Jesus said to him, “If You can! All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and began saying, “I believe; help my unbelief.” Mark 9:23-24.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you do answer prayer. I confess that too often I pray to you without really believing you will answer. Please forgive that foolish way of coming to you in prayer. Please help me in praying only in accordance with your will with the absolute expectation that you will answer. Please, Father, help my unbelief. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you ever prayed without any real expectation that God would answer? If so, what was that all about? If that’s how you prayed and God answered your prayer, what was your response? Were you amazed? Did it change how you pray? Would you like to pray with the absolute expectation that God is going to answer? If so, how is that going to happen?