I've always had some
very strong misconceptions about prayer. One of my
strongest misconceptions was the idea that if a prayer
wasn't answered, that was a bad thing. After all, I
know what I want, and if I ask for it then I really do
want it, right? Unfortunately, though, we aren't
always the best at figuring out what's best for us, even
if we do like to think that what we want at the moment is,
indeed, what's best for us.
The reality of our lives, though, is that our wants tend
to be fleeting, while our needs are much more
consistent. When we're young, we want that guy or
girl with a passion, and we'll pray all night and all day
for a date or for a relationship just because that's what
we want. But is that person someone who will
complement our own personalities? Is he or she
someone who will be able to share a healthy relationship
with us? Look around at the number of people who are
in unhealthy relationships, and it becomes clear that the
fact that we get what we want in a relationship doesn't
mean that we're getting what we need.
Prayer can be rather simple. If we pray that we get
what is best for us, with the full knowledge that we're
not sure what that is, then we can look at our prayer life
with much more balance, with far fewer expectations.
If we let go of the expectations that we have once we pray
for what we want, then praying for what we need can help
to free us to give our best to whatever we're doing as we
patiently wait for the prayer to be answered, rather than
wasting time trying to force that prayer to be answered.
Prayer can be a valuable part of our lives if we don't
turn it into simply a wish list. Because sometimes
what we wish for can turn into something that harms us
greatly if we aren't careful.