“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
To be completely honest with you, throughout the past month or so, I’ve been struggling with my thoughts on prayer. Praying is something my parents taught me to do as a child and I have continued to do it to this day. However, I have recently been struggling with the answer to the question of why I am supposed to pray, if God’s plan is going to happen no matter what? Ironically, in my questioning about prayer, I prayed and asked God to help me with this (I am so thankful that God welcomes our questions and guides us through them).
So as I started looking for clarity on this issue, God led me to the Desiring God podcast with John Piper, titled, “If God is Sovereign, Are My Prayers Pointless?” Piper specifically addresses this issue by giving three biblical reasons as to why we should pray, even though God’s sovereign plans will prevail. His reasons were as follows: Because God tells us to (John 15:7), because if we don’t pray, we may not get what we want, that is according to His will (James 4:2), and because God plans our prayers like He plans the answers to our prayers (Luke 22:32).
I was encouraged as I listened to this, and knew God was using it to strengthen my unbelief, but there was still something inside of me that was unsettled. Then, God so graciously gave me a beautiful illustration to help me better understand it. He brought to mind the idea of making cupcakes with my children. Baking is something I enjoy doing and I could easily make cupcakes all by myself, without the help of my children. It would be easier, less messy, and more peaceful. However, knowing that my children enjoy baking with me, I choose to include them in the process.
Some good things can come from baking together. For instance, my children can learn math facts as we count and measure ingredients, and we can grow in our relationship by spending time together. We can also have a few bumps along the way, like one of them spilling eggs or fighting over who gets to stir the batter first. Finally, when the cupcakes are done and ready to eat, my children will enjoy these cupcakes more because they got to take part in making them and now have new memories of making them together.
As I thought of this illustration in relation to God and our prayers, I realized that God doesn’t have to involve us at all. Because He loves us, desires for us to learn and grow in relationship with Him, and wants us to be a part of the process of seeing our prayers answered, He includes us, even if we have “bumps” along the way. As John Piper said in that same podcast, “He’s granting us the dignity of joining with Him in glorifying Himself as part of the cause of all that He does.” It is truly humbling that God listens to our prayers and acts on behalf of them. May we never stop being a part of that amazing process!
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, make their home in central Arkansas. They have five grown children and are grandparents to wonderful grandchildren. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.