"Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you." - Luke 11:9
Do you believe that? I have met a few people recently whose prayers have gone unanswered. Jesus' words might not be exactly what they are leaning on right now as they try everything they can think of and nothing seems to work. And yet I have also met a few people recently who are doing great, except they are dying. Their spirit and attitude are strong. They bring hope to others, even though their own situation is rather hopeless.
When Jesus said, "Ask, and it will be given you," he did not say exactly what it is that will be given. When he said, "Seek, and you will find," he did not say exactly what it is that you will find. When he said, "Knock, and the door will be opened," he did not say what will be on the other side of the door.
The hardest part of prayer, for me, is surrendering to the mystery of that to which I pray. Our prayers may not be answered in the way we wish. Sometimes I am simply not okay with that. But I believe God is okay with me not being okay with God. I believe God will answer prayers, but in God's own time and in God's own way.
In our prayers it is often we who are transformed, no matter the outcome of that for which we pray. And then, disarmed of demands and expectations, we find ourselves able to welcome the acceptance and other blessings that we didn't even know to pray for.
Thy will, not mine, be done. Sweet is Thy will, O God, sweet is Thy will. Amen.
Dwight Lee Wolter is the author of Forgiving Our Parents, Freedom Through Forgiving (a workbook), and Forgiving Our Grownup Children. He is pastor of the Congregational Church of Patchogue on Long Island, New York.