Man ponderingThere is A Way Things Work

By John Eldredge

Look, let’s go ahead and name the elephant in the room—some prayers work, and some prayers don’t. Why does that surprise and irritate us? Some diets work, but most don’t; no one is really surprised by that. We simply keep looking for the one that will work for us. Some investments produce, others don’t; you look for the program that works for you. Some schools are effective, others fail badly; hopefully you can find the situation that is right for your child. There is a way things work. Can you name anything in life where this isn’t so?

And so it is with prayer. We just want it to be simple and easy; we want it to go like this:

God is loving and powerful.

We need his help.

So we ask for help, as best we know how. 

The rest is up to him.

After all—he’s God. He can do anything.

The uncomfortable truth is this: that is a very naïve view of prayer, on a level with believing that all a marriage needs is love, or that we should base our foreign policy on belief in our fellow man.

That simple view of prayer has crushed many a dear soul, because it ignores crucial facts.

There is a way things work.

To Sum Up …We are trying to clear away mistaken assumptions about God and his world so that we can better understand prayer. God is growing us all up. We find ourselves in the midst of a great and terrible war. Now, if I were him, I think I would have taken care of the first so that we could get on with the second. Let’s get everyone whole and strong and filled with the power of God, and then we can take Normandy, spiritually speaking. Or, I’d maybe even prefer the reverse— overthrow the kingdom of darkness, rid the world of evil in one fell swoop, and then there will be breathing room to see humanity restored. Because honestly, to conduct the invasion while God is still growing us up looks to me like hitting the beach at Normandy not with a battalion of marines, but with Mrs. Simpson’s third-grade class, the junior high youth group from First Presbyterian, and a handful of adults chosen at random from the phone book. It looks like a hobbit with a handkerchief going to slay a dragon. But I did not write this story, and the One who did hasn’t consulted me on the matter. So this is where we are— in precisely the same position Bilbo and the children in Narnia found themselves in. (Perhaps that is why we love those stories; something deep inside knows it to be true.) Now, if you believed both assumptions, if they were woven into your deepest convictions about the world, you would want to learn to pray like a soldier wants to learn to use his weapon, like a smoke jumper wants to learn survival skills. We really have no idea what sort of breakthrough is actually possible until we learn to pray. Perhaps we, too, will be ending droughts and stopping wildfires.

Eldredge, John (2016-02-16). Moving Mountains: Praying with Passion, Confidence, and Authority (pp. 23-24). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

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