Friday, December 25, 2009

How Will I Know?

How will I know if my prayer is answered?

I’ve been praying these last few days for our country, for a man of courage. In my mind, I was thinking of some senator who would make some right vote, regardless of his career. I was thinking that God could reach out and touch the heart of someone who would make a difference. Thinking on it, I guess, in a way, I was praying for a savior. But that sounds blasphemous, especially today. So what was I praying for? And how would I know if my prayer were answered?

I have faith and trust in God. I know my wishes, my prayers, and my thoughts are not always His, but I know that His are better. My reasoning says I am right, but in faith I can pray for things beyond my reasoning. I trust in God.

The Magi followed a star based on ancient prophecies; I don’t think they were looking for a baby. The Jewish people prayed for a Savior warrior, expecting one to free them from the yoke of the Romans; He wasn’t, He didn’t. A young virgin said “Be it done unto me according to Thy word”; I’m not sure she knew all that entailed. There are people throughout all of history who have prayed to God, looked for His response, and been surprised at the form it took. Some never even recognized it.

So why should I be any different?

I’ve prayed for an end to abortion. In my mind, I was thinking of a supreme court justice reversing Roe v Wade. I was thinking of abortion clinics closing around the country. Recently I came across a very small group of people called the Guadalupe Partners, who have a unique way of counseling and reaching women walking into the abortion clinics – and have saved many lives. Many. In reflecting on their work, I realize they might be an answer to my prayer. Abortion is being ended, one child at a time. Just like Jesus didn’t raise an army and strike down an empire, He chose twelve and healed people one by one. Our ways are not always God’s ways, but in faith we know that His are better.

I was praying recently for one person of wisdom and courage to change America. Considering the smallness of my prayer, I’m not sure how God’s answer to my prayer, His plan, if it is to be on a small scale, can be more minute than that for which I prayed – one person. Like the Jewish people, perhaps my thoughts on the answer to my prayer are so different from God’s plans that I won’t recognize the answer when it comes.

I prayed for a man who would seek to know God’s will and then act on it, with courage. I prayed in my heart that this man would make a difference in America. I expected that he would through his courageous act have a vast influence, but perhaps God’s plans are otherwise. Maybe it will be answered in a man from another country, maybe even a woman. Maybe it will be answered in a man who has only a tiny impact on one person, and that impact will bloom from there, like His Church did. Maybe the man isn’t in Washington, maybe he’s in your town.

Maybe he’s you.

While I continue to pray for a man of courage for our country, I also pray for you this Christmas day, my friends. I pray that God give you wisdom and courage to live your life well, to seek and follow His example, the Father’s will. I pray that as a result of your courage, perhaps you might bring a change into someone’s life, just one, although you may not even know it. And I pray that that person may bloom as a result of your work, and yield a garden to be forever named in your honor by all the saints – and you – in heaven.

How will I know if my prayer is answered? I don’t need to know. I have faith; I trust.

Blessings to you, this Christmas.

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