In college, I learned that when someone told me there problems, there was a tendency to say “I’ll pray for you” and then promptly forget that commitment. I started saying “I’ll try to remember to pray for you.” It was a little more honest, and a little less comforting. It wasn’t the first time in my life (nor do I think it will be the last) that I thought telling the truth was more important than protecting someone’s feelings.
The strange thing was, I found that as I made this caveated commitment, I was more apt to recall the person’s request when I went to my quiet time. Maybe it was because I took the time to form an honest response, but for whatever reason, I was more likely to remember to pray for the person in need when I didn’t flippantly agree to. It drove me to pray more which contained wonderful lessons in and of itself.
One of the lessons that I learned was that prayer is a wondrous and mysterious act and its impact is hard to quantify. Despite this lack of clarity as to the end result, I’ve found that regardless of the answer there is always benefit in the asking. In asking we acknowledge our lack of control and God’s completeness of it. We signify our reliance on the will of the One who created all to manage the details of that creation. Prayer is an act of humility because regardless of the outcome, the simple utterance demonstrates that we believe God is God, and we’re not.
In this lesson, I’ve learned that the answers to prayers often exceed my capacity to understand them, but always, I’m blessed through the asking.