When we look at difficult situations in the world, our prayers can feel so puny. ‘Dear God, please bring peace to Europe’ is a short prayer about a large and complex issue, and at times it may feel pointless to pray this way.
We look to the heroes or people in power to do something about it, because who are we, as ordinary people, to influence history on the grand stage?
According to Exodus, the prayers of the people were the single reason God acted. Though it was a long period of time and must have felt like God wasn’t listening to the Israelites, actually God ‘heard their groaning’ (2:24) and ‘was concerned about them’ (2:25).
The calling of Moses in the burning bush was as a direct result of this. Here’s the curious thing: Moses jumped into action by killing the Egyptian, and surely God could have used Moses then to release the Israelites.
But that wasn’t God’s plan. God was always going to use Moses, but not at that time, and not in that way.
Instead, God waited for the prayers and groans of the Israelites before he called Moses. The resultant rescue with the ten plagues was then clearly from God’s hand, not Moses’ actions, and it was in answer to the ordinary prayers of many ordinary people.
This is a great comfort for those of us who watch the news and just groan (as long as that groan is directed Godward).
It encourages us to be persistent in prayer, however short our prayers are. When God is silent, it doesn’t mean God’s ignoring us but rather listening to us.
When answers to prayer take a while, perhaps it’s because God is waiting, too.
A Prayer To Make:
‘Dear Lord, thank You that You hear our prayers, and even our groans. I lay before You my concerns today. Amen.’
An Action To Take:
This week, challenge yourself to pray daily about the biggest, most complex situations in your life or the world, however short the prayer.
Scripture To Consider:
Ps. 5:1–3; Jonah 3:6–10; Luke 18:1–8; 1 Thess. 5:16–18