Praying is not about begging God to do something and then waiting to see if He does it, it’s more about a partnership.
John Eldredge reminds us that when we pray without confidence in God, it can be rather disheartening.
“We pray and then we just wait. We see if God does anything and sometimes it seems like He doesn’t, so we go ‘Well I guess he’s not involved, or I am not praying right,’ and then we walk away.”
Instead of walking away from our prayer life, God wants us to partner with Him. We can find several examples in the Bible of people who have partnered with God and used the authority given to them in prayer. John refers to the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel in 1 Kings 18:41-46.
“Israel had been in a 3 year drought and God said, ‘OK, I’m going to bring the rain, but Elijah I want you to pray it in.’”
Even though God could have easily brought the rain, He still wanted to use Elijah’s prayers.
“So Elijah goes up on the mountain and he prays, then he sends his servants to go have a look at the weather forecast. The servant comes back and says, ‘Sunny skies – there’s nothing.’
“Elijah says, ‘I’m going to pray some more,’ so he prays more and he sends a servant back.”
“After about 4 or 5 times, I think most of us figure, ‘I guess God’s just not in this or I’m not doing it right.’
Elijah teaches us the importance of trusting God, even when our prayers seemingly go unanswered.
“The story is given to us to encourage us to stick with it, and to see yourself not as begging God to intervene; God wants to intervene and God is intervening, but that we are His partners in prayer together.”
John explains an identity crisis that many people struggle with and how it impacts our prayer life.
“I think we still see ourselves as orphans or just servants, and we don’t see ourselves as sons and daughters. The first really big shift that takes place for people in prayer is when we get our identity straight.”
The more we understand our position in Christ, the more confidence we’ll have to partner with God in prayer.
John Eldredge is an author, a counselor, and teacher. He is also president of Ransomed Heart, a ministry devoted to helping people discover the heart of God, recover their own heart in his love, and learn to live in his Kingdom.