“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer”. Romans 12:12
The song “Que Sera Sera” was first introduced to the public in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 film The Man Who Knew Too Much. Doris Day and Jimmy Stewart. In the movie, Doris Day’s character sings “Que Sera Sera” to her son at the film’s beginning. After her son is kidnapped, she again sings the song while trying to find the boy. Hitchcock intertwines the idea of “ques sera sera” throughout the movie, suggesting the couple’s chaos and danger is unavoidable no matter what they do.
Too many people have this type of fatalism when they pray. They think that regardless of what they do or say, God has made his mind up, so whatever will be will be. What does it mean to pray? Does it mean throwing your arms up in the air, resigning yourself to an uncertain fate, or are there more profound promises we can hold onto when we pray?
Some have skewed ideas about prayer. The problem is that some of these ideas (such as those listed below) aren’t only wrong and can derail your prayer life altogether.
- No patience is required.
- Prayer comes naturally.
- Prayer is like a wish list for Santa.
- Prayer is a one-way conversation.
- Prayer is a silver bullet.
- My way is the right way to pray.
- I’ll live my life the way I want to (also known as the Frank Sinatra syndrome).
Prayer can be spoken spontaneously in response to events going on around us. But we must also make time to talk with God intentionally. Prayer must include listening and watching. If we trust God is listening, there will be a response; it may come sooner or later. When we pray, we must expect to get an answer, as prayer is a two-way conversation in which we talk and listen for God. Prayer does not come naturally, especially to the Western culture, which struggles with the idea of talking with someone who can’t be seen yet is omnipresent. Or those who believe they are self-made and all they own, or desire is because of their efforts. They may talk with God so He can address things they can’t seem to obtain or achieve in the desired time frame.
Life has a purpose, and we can make decisions that influence the outcome of that life. We are not saved to give up when it gets tricky, as Jesus came so that we could live life to the full. Prayer is simply making time to be with God. We make time for many essential things, so we must make time for God. When we pray, and God seems quiet, we continue to pray, trusting God is always listening. Persistent prayer is about trusting God to lead and guide us knowing we are not forgotten or forsaken.