Have you ever felt like others’ prayers were more effective than your own?
In the opening chapter of Jonah, we learn that God told Jonah to go to Nineveh to preach because God was angry with their behavior and couldn’t let it continue. Rather than accepting his assignment from God, Jonah not only ran away from God, but ran as far away as he could get. He bought a ticket to take a boat to Tarshish. (When he was afraid of the assignment from God, he ran away, and tried to relocate, likely forgetting that God would know wherever he went).
I find it interesting that in Jonah 1:4, we are told that God sent a huge storm. I was troubled to think of God causing adverse circumstances, but as we continue reading through Jonah, we see that God creatively kept Jonah safe. But that’s not all. God even used the adverse circumstances of one man to lead others to Him.
As we’ll see, God worked Jonah’s trial out for good, as He promises He will do in Romans 8:28. It just doesn’t always work out the way we think or hope it will.
The sailors of the ship Jonah had boarded called out to their gods in their desperation. When that was not enough to save them from the dire circumstances they found themselves in, they ordered Jonah to get up and pray to his God, thinking that his god would see they were in trouble and rescue them.
I have to wonder if this grieved God, desiring that they would abolish their loyalty to their false Gods in favor of the gift of relationship with the God.
How many times do we do the same thing? How many times do we lack the faith that our prayers will be effective, but somehow believe that God will answer others’ prayers on our behalf?
I’ve never really thought that God would answer the prayers of others, that were offered for me – except in one vital way.
I believe that He channeled the love and care, to give me strength.
I recently heard a prominent – and likable – TV preacher advertise his home training program on seven steps to answered prayer.
I think he’s sincere, but he’s an idiot. Prayer isn’t a connect-the-dots exercise; it;s an effort to commune with God, and is certainly NOT meant to fill our bank accounts, or make us attractive to the opposite sex.
Prayer calls on the strength and love God wants to give us. It isn’t designed for problem-solving, as Jesus found out on His way to Good Friday. “Please let this cup pass from me” was answered with a “No”, and “Why have You abandoned Me?” was a cry into the night, that could only be answered with loving grace,and a whisper of hope.
I have to admit I’ve struggled with the same thing. I have found though that the more time I spend in His word, the easier it is for me to believe and the more readily I hear His responses (even if they aren’t the responses I’m hoping for). I just posted an article myself relating to Believing God. http://www.findingourfeet.org/believing-god/ I’m doing a bible study about that currently at it is working wonders in my own heart.
Thank you for sharing this!
Kristi @ FindingOurFeet.org
Thank you for your ministry. Four years ago i was in a coma for a month not expected to live. Recently the doctors were positive I had colon cancer, it was benign. Now I’m facing blindness and memory loss. I don’t understand but I will trust God through this. Please pray for me. Thank you, in the sweet love of Jesus Christ, amen. Lorna Sgro