Does Prayer Work?
Updated: Feb 11, 2020
Ask and it shall be given. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened.
It’s a verse we know so well. A verse we rejoice in when we’re praying for the doors of opportunity to be opened.
One we declare when we need our circumstances with our children to change. Perhaps even one we write on the wall of our bedroom closet to be used in times of warrior-like, audacious prayer.
However, today as I scanned the words of this passage, I wondered how many of us had ever felt betrayed by these very same words. We asked and did not receive. We were seeking only to end up feeling empty. We knocked and every door slammed in our faces.
Just a few short years ago, my husband and I had a burning desire to be in full-time ministry. We both knew that God had a calling on our lives to serve others and advance his kingdom through ministry, but weren’t sure what that was going to look like. So we continued walking forward in life, with our heads in the present but our hearts on the future. We prayed continually for God to open doors of opportunity and to reveal our next steps. However, much to our dismay, we awoke to the same circumstances day after day, with no end in sight.
Then it happened. Without any warning or premonition of change, my husband was suddenly unofficially offered a position at our church, with a pastor and staff he had grown extremely close to. He was elated and I was in total awe of God. However, there was one setback. This unofficial offer came with a hangup in the finance department. The church was not able to officially hire him until they had the funds. “No problem” we thought. We had no doubt that this was the job God had for him, and so we began to pray and declare that the funds would arrive!
Fast forward a year and a half, and still no promise of the church being financially able to add him to the staff. To say we were discouraged and tired is an understatement. We got to the place where we hit full surrender. It was no longer about us and our plans and what we thought God had for us. As we re-positioned ourselves in prayer, our cry became, “Not our will, but yours.” We no longer prayed for that job to open, we simply prayed to be in his will and for God to use us. We started fasting and seeking his face like never before despite the surrounding circumstances.
That my friends, is when God moved on our behalves like we’ve never experienced before. Just a day or two into our fast, my husband got a job offer from a church in North Carolina, with a job description that required all of the experience my husband had from those years in his previous job. It was a job beyond our wildest dreams. A job with more vacation time than we had ever had. A job with a staff that quickly became like family and with friends for our children. A job where the both of us would be able to serve the church and God’s people in a new capacity. And the kicker to it all...he never even applied for it. It literally came to him out of the blue.
We asked, friends. We were seeking, knocking, and banging down the doors of heaven for that first job opportunity. But God said no. What happens when we fervently prayer but don’t see the result of what we were sure was ours to have?
Here’s the true beauty in that passage of Matthew, where we grasp a full understanding of Jesus’ truth-filled words and are able to see the full promise. In Matthew 7:9, Jesus asks, “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Jesus never told us we would get everything we asked for. What he did say is that we would receive, find, and have doors opened. What are those things we obtain? Good gifts from the Father who knows what’s truly good for us.
You see, what we are seeking, asking for, or waiting to be opened may not be what’s best for us. Just like we love our precious babies and so no to the things we know might harm them, God loves us too much to give us everything we desire. He knows that our hearts will often deceive us and we will sometimes fall victim to the blinders of this world. He knows that we can’t see the future and that we need his guidance to keep us from harm and to put us in a place where we can truly excel.
It’s true that we will receive when we ask, but it may be that we receive strength and peace instead of deliverance. And when we seek, we will find, but it’s not until we are seeking his face and not worldly satisfaction that we will feel complete. And those doors? Yes, they will open, but they may not be the same doors you had envisioned, but instead the ones that God desires to bring you through in order to elevate and promote you.
Keep asking mama. He’s a good Father and has the best for you and your precious little ones. All we have to do is trust his ways and teach our children to do the same.