Listenings: Answering Your Own Prayers

To be willing to co-operate with God means we are willing to be the answer to our own prayers.  Commenting on the petition in the Lord’s Prayer that the Kingdom come and God’s will be done, Underhill writes: “It’s useless to utter fervent petitions for that Kingdom to be established and that Will to be done, unless we are willing to do something about it ourselves” (p. 87).

This is the spirit of Isaiah who heard God’s call for someone to co-operate in confronting the sin of Israel and said, “Here am I Lord, send me.”

This is the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi who felt in his heart the profound desire of God to bring peace, and responded, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”

Of course, there are times when what we pray for can only happen through the efforts of someone else—times when what we pray for can only come to pass through the direct work of God.  But there are many times when we can be involved in bringing the things we pray for to pass.

This is the spirit of Frank Laubach, who included in his morning prayers each day this question, “God, what are you doing in the world today that I can help you with?”


About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to Listenings: Answering Your Own Prayers

  1. Dennis Owen says:

    To be willing to be the answer to our own prayers also means that the Lord is calling some of us away from the intimacy of the prayer closet and into the marketplace. It’s not as though He is saying that He does not want us to be intimate with Him anymore. It’s more like a walking out of Song of Songs 1:4, which says “Draw me after you, and let us run together.” The rhythm of our life needs to alternate between “drawing” and “running.” We will always need to have regular time with the Lord for the enrichment of our personal and corporate life of prayer, during which we are “refueled” or “refired” to go back out into the world with Him in bringing the things we pray for to pass. And yet, the balance of time we spend in the prayer closet vs. in the world changes in different seasons of life.

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