Did you know it is dangerous to pray? Have you ever considered what you might be asking for when you throw your prayers up into the air? Do you think about what ripple effect of that prayer being answered might be? Have you ever considered the cost?
The girls and I have been watching the tv series Once Upon a Time. In that series, the bad guy often warns people requesting to make a deal with him in exchange for his magic powers that magic always comes at a cost.
Prayer isn’t magic. God is not a magician waiting for us to make a deal with him in exchange for His power. He isn’t waiting for us to make an incorrect request so He can get us. He doesn’t even want our well thought out and rehearsed prayers, I don’t think.
Answered prayers do come at a cost. Think about it. One family prays for a loved one to receive an organ transplant and that prayer is answered while another family is saying goodbye to their loved one who just became an organ donor. Another family prays that their son or daughter will not be chosen to go into battle as another’s son or daughter fills that space.
Maybe the prayers aren’t as big and one family prays their child will get picked for a limited number of spots on a team while another family consoles their child who just missed out because they didn’t make the cut. A mom prays for a way to connect with her child and ends up with a box of brownies in her car while another mom is inconvenienced and gets home without the brownies she had planned to make for her family.
God is not a God of limited resources but we do live in a reality of limits until Jesus’s return. Yes, we can and should pray Heaven to Earth now but there are still limits. There are limits and free will and consequences that all affect our prayers in ways I sure don’t always understand. It won’t stop me from praying for Heaven’s realities to invade this earth and the lives of those around me, but I know that there are a lot of moving parts.
I’ve known for a while that prayers could be costly. I’ve jokingly, or not so jokingly, said I won’t pray for patience because I knew how patience was formed. I’ve prayed for wisdom and been thrust head long into situations that weren’t so pleasant that required wisdom. I’ve asked for revelation and received more than I thought I really wanted to know.
This morning I was listening to a podcast and the preacher was preaching on love. At the end of the sermon he asked everyone to stand because he was going to pray that God would teach them to love bigger than they ever had before. He was going to pray that they learn how to love the unlovable. I guess he could see some people cringing. He joked that he was going to pray for them whether they wanted the prayer or not.
I want to love better than I do now. I want to learn to love those around me more like He loves them. I want to learn to love with the same intensity that He loves me.
And then I pause…
He loved people who hated him.
He loved people who spit in his face.
He loved people who beat him.
He loved people who mocked him.
He loved people who crucified him.
He loved people who others had written off.
He loved liars and cheats and criminals.
He loved deceivers.
He loved adulterers.
He loved murderers.
He loved people who doubted him.
What if I pray that prayer and the only way it can be answered is for me to actually love those kinds of people? What if that is a lesson that can only be learned in the trenches? What price am I really willing to pay to learn to love like He loved? What if I have to hang out with “unlovable” people to learn to love like Him?
What if someone has to hang out with me to learn to love like Him?