“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened .
I remember back when I was a little girl growing up in a Chicago suburb called Des Plaines…I’d visit an outdoor mall called Golf Mill. The mall got its name because it was located on Golf road and it had pond with a large water mill in it. I would lean over the rail, look down into the water, watch the beautiful giant goldfish swimming around, and throw in 1 penny and make a wish. Sometimes the wish would be for a new toy, maybe a doll or a book. Sometimes I’d throw in the penny and ask for something more substantial. Like, “God, please heal my dog who got hit by a car, or God, please don’t let my parents get divorced. Even though I never went to church as a child, I would still address my penny wishes to God. I would ask God to supply my wants and needs. As a small child, my relationship with God, my prayer life primarily consisted of asking for wants and needs, and I never hesitated to ask.
As I got older however my relationship with God grew deeper, I began to express my gratitude for God’s goodness, giving God thanks. “Thank you God, for my good health. Thank you for keeping my family safe. Thank you, God for food and drink. Thank you for the opportunity to travel to wonderful places. Thank you for your creation and thank you for the awe of the universe, the stars and the planets, the wildflowers that pop up in the cracked sidewalks of the slums, signs of beauty and new life.”
Then there came a point in life where God seemed to be nowhere, far away, silent, unresponsive. I was searching for answers and receiving none. “Why did my younger sister get breast cancer?” Silence. “Why did you let my parent’s get divorced?” Silence. The search for answers led to more questions.
So what about the Silence? What do we do when God seems far away? If I were to be real honest, what do I do when God isn’t answering the prayers the way I would suggest that they’d be answered?
Jesus addresses this topic as well. He tells us to keep on asking, to be persistent. This quote from Douglas John Hall, also speaks to not giving up on prayer, “Real prayer cannot be faked…Its only prerequisites are sufficient self knowledge to recognize the depths of our need and enough humility to ask for help. Ask! Really ask! Keep on asking! And it will be give you….and is being given you already in the asking.”
Rev. Nancy Pauls
Pastor of Prayer