Do you think your prayers fall on deaf ears? Do you pray and pray and pray, all the while thinking that no one hears your words? Do you look around and see that nothing changes despite your prayers? Do you wonder why you can’t hear God responding to your requests?
Today, get really quiet. Listen hard. See if you can’t hear the Still Small Voice talking to you. Look around, see if your prayers haven’t actually been answered–just in ways you didn’t imagine.
Every once in a while I’m reminded of the fact that, indeed, God does answer our prayers. Indeed, miracles happen. I read a news story today about “rain men” in Israel who prayed for rain and the rains came. In fact, the sky opened and it poured. It rained so hard that flash floods even killed two people.
Who were these amazing rain men? Orthodox Jews and members of Hamas. Jews and militant Islamic fundamentalists who oppose peace with Israel. Both groups just happened to decide to pray for rain on the same day, and guess what? It seems God heard their prayers. (If you want to read more about this, click here.)
Could it be that it took the miracle of these two opposing groups praying on the same day for the same thing for their prayers to be heard? Possibly. However, I believe our prayers are heard more often than we know or believe or perceive.
There are ways, however, to make our prayers heard. If we know how, we can, like these rain men, pray for rain and have the rains come.
I think I heard the methodology for affective prayer explained best by Greg Braden, author of Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer. He tells a story about accompanying a Native American friend to “pray rain.” They walked quite a distance to a sacred place where the “earth’s skin was thin,” a place used by many generations for prayer and ritual. The friend took off his shoes and stepped into the circle. He acknowledged the four directions and his ancestors and then stood for a few moments in silence. Then he stepped out of the circle, turned to Greg and said, “Okay, let’s go.”
Greg, who was waiting for something more elaborate to happen, replied, “I thought we were going to pray for rain.”
“No,” replied his friend, “We were going to pray rain, and I did that.”
“What’s the difference?” asked Greg.
“If you pray for rain, you affirm the lack of what you want and you, therefore, create more lack of what you want – in this case, rain. When you pray rain, you affirm the existence of rain right now, right here, in this moment. You offer gratitude for what you already have or expect to have,” he explained.
“And how did you pray rain?” asked Greg.
The man replied, “I imagined what it feels like to have the mud that forms in the streets of my village after a big rain squishing up through my bare toes. I remembered the smell of the adobe houses when the rain is falling on them. And I recalled the feeling of running through a field of waist high corn stalks growing tall and lush from the abundant spring rains. That’s how I prayed rain.”
So, instead of complaining that your prayers fall on deaf ears, change how you pray. Stop asking for what you want and need from God, and start praying to God with gratitude for prayers answered. Also, feel grateful for the fact that God knows what you need and will answer you prayers in ways beyond your wildest dreams. So, don’t expect the answers to your prayers, or the fulfillment of your prayers to look exactly as you expect.