I think one of the biggest difficulties in prayer is that we so often don’t have all the facts. We sometimes pray as if we do and then are stopped short or disappointed when things turn out differently than we expected or we get “NO” for an answer.
We wonder: what is God’s part in this and what is my part? Did this not turn out because I didn’t pray enough or I prayed the wrong way? Did I lack faith? Was I not desperate enough? Did the enemy hinder the answer? Was I really praying in God’s will?
There is a quote I love (originally by Martin Luther I believe) which for me brings balance to the struggle. It says: “Pray as if it all depends on God and work as if it all depends on you.” Profoundly simple, wouldn’t you say?
The apostle Paul freely admitted that he didn’t have the whole picture when he said: “For now we see in a mirror dimly…now I know in part.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) He realized that during our days on earth we will always be struggling to see and understand; it will only become crystal clear in eternity.
Realistically, we will probably never stop grappling over exactly what is going on behind the scenes as we pray. It’s only natural to do so. But if we follow the advice of the quote we will never go wrong. It’s simple and covers all the bases. With it I only have to focus on one thing: my part.