With all due respect to Jabez, I have come to pray less for myself and more for others – believing that, somehow, this is where much of the power of community in God’s kingdom lies.
Still, I am perplexed by His answers to prayers as I perceive them.
Sometimes the answer from God seems to be only, “I have heard your prayer.”
And I try to remember that Paul said His grace was sufficient.
Sometimes the answer from God seems to be, “I have heard your prayer. The one for whom you pray has made up his own mind in the matter. He must be the one to choose.”
And I try to remember that, though God is willing to give some people over to what they want and even willing to harden their hearts, the Story of His Son either has the power to soften them or not – as they choose.
Sometimes the answer from God seems to be, a little tersely, “Didn’t I already tell you that I have heard your prayer for this one?”
And I try to understand that answer as a reminder that it is time for me to forgive and let go and let Him do the judging.
Sometimes the answer from God seems to be, “I have heard your prayer … my child.”
And for a while we weep quietly together for those I’ve prayed for, until I am comforted by the picture of Him wiping away my tears and theirs in a house in His mansion where His children can rest in His arms.
Then I can finally curl up and sleep in this world and this house and this bed, perhaps not in His arms … but within His touch.