"Now is the judgment of the world, now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." - John 12:31-32
I, and probably you, sometimes wonder if prayer really changes things. And what exactly are we asking God to do when we pray?
Is God running around like a maniac, playing Whack-a-Mole with our prayer requests? Does God accidentally miss some? (Or on-purpose miss some? like my daughter's prayer for a very specific, overpriced stuffed dog, made in a sweatshop in China, to accompany her American Girl doll?)
The author Haven Kimmel wrote that God doesn't compel, God lures us toward the good.
We were born with free will. It is a blessing and a curse. It means we have the freedom to choose the path of our days and our lives—but it comes at a cost. The cost is that we sometimes (often) choose things (overpriced stuffed dogs) that cause suffering to others or ourselves.
But when we quiet our wants, and want what God wants instead, we experience grace. Perfect peace. Alignment. Flow. It has many names, but you know what it feels like. It feels good. It feels like freedom.
God spent six days making the earth and all that is in it, and on the seventh day, He rested. I've heard that the word for "day" in Hebrew means "an unspecified length of time." Consider this: if there were, in earth-years, 15 billion years from the Big Bang till the dawn of human civilization, by that math, perhaps it is still the seventh day of Creation. Perhaps God is still resting.
And if God is still resting, how are our prayers getting answered? Well, just because God is resting, doesn't mean God is dead. God is Lure, the tremendous energy at the heart of all Creation, with Her own internal energy—like an electromagnet, drawing the matter that is like Her into Herself. Gently ordering it, in His patient, unhurried away.
God of Big Bangs and American Girls, help us to get quiet. Then, let us feel the pull of what You really love. Amen.