For persons of faith, a primary avenue to recovery from a midlife crisis or from the doldrums of an uninspiring life is prayer–communication with the Divine Presence. Like me, do you sometimes wonder why prayer often times doesn’t seem to work? We tend to pray most when we fervently want something–either for ourselves or for someone else. So many times it seems like we don’t receive an answer!
It often doesn’t seem like we’re asking for all that much:
- Maybe a job that’s a bit more satisfying and pays a little more. (Of course, as soon as we get the raise, we’ll share some of it with the church!)
- Reassurance that our loved one will pull the operation.
- Positive results from the scary, pending medical test.
- That our son or daughter will conquer his or her addiction to drugs.
- To get over that recent divorce and to find someone new who will bring joy and contentment back into my life.
Every week you go to church, routinely read the scriptures and pray time and time again but so far no signs of resolution. You’re not a bad person, so why hasn’t God answered your prayers?
I am not an ordained minister and this blog is not intended as a sermon. Nevertheless, I hope to inspire anyone who desires more out of life than continuing to move forward with an unsatisfying status quo. Will power alone is never the answer! That’s why a sound first step is to acknowledge the presence of a Greater Power and to tune into that power for guidance moving forward.
As an initial suggestion, pray to God once with all your heart then relax and wait for God’s affirmative “YES”. You and I don’t need to pray over and over with the same request–God hears us the first time and is aware of our deepest concerns before we utter a word! By all means, consciously seek God’s help in silencing that little voice inside your subconscious mind that holds you back. So often it is us as God’s children who answer “NO” and create our own opposition. At times God’s positive response may not be the precise “yes” answer we are seeking but once we gain true insight, we will come to realize that God’s answer is better than our own.
Prayer is a sound first step to unlocking the potential that many of us don’t even realize we possess. Who says at middle age your best days are behind you and that accomplishments up to now is all you’re capable of? The opposite of success is not failure but mediocrity. Perhaps your initial request to God should be to open your eyes to your wonderful full potential!
Here’s another good reason why at first blush prayer so often appears to fail. A lot of us get mental fatigue from praying over and over for the same thing. After a while, our words tend to lose meaning for us. I must admit I’ve prayed the Lord’s Prayer so many times in public worship services that the words at times have no genuine impact on my emotions. The next time you recite a prayer in communal worship, take time out to reflect upon the precise meaning to you of the phrases you are reciting.
Another challenge: most of us need to dedicate more prayer time to expressing gratitude for all of God’s blessings. Don’t simply ask God for favors! Expressing gratitude also will serve as a blessing for you! If you’re like me, when you take the time to reflect upon and give thanks for everything you have, a flood of positive emotions will flood your mind. At times you may even discover previously hidden solutions to the very problems you have been praying about.
As a final suggestion, surrender your deepest longings and concerns to God in prayer but afterwards don’t just sit around waiting for God to do all the work. God created you and me with the imagination and intellectual capacity to address our own problems and to experience divine joy and fulfillment, once we begin working with rather than against God.
If less than fully satisfied with your life today, ask yourself these three questions:
- “Why do I struggle in a world created by a God who intended us to prosper?”
- “Since God created me with unlimited potential, why am I willing to settle for mediocre?”
- “Possessing a heart and tongue that can move mountains, why do I feel despair and speak often about limitations and lack of resources?”
To explore further “why God doesn’t answer our prayers” please tune in the July 22, 2013 edition of my weekly Internet radio program “Middle Age Can Be Your Best Age.” My honored guest is Wrenwick Williams who assures us that God has promised us all health and wealth–He’s just waiting for us to come by and get them!