The Purpose of Prayer: Randi Peck

By Randi Peck

Sometimes it just hits me, in the middle of my exasperated efforts to get things done, that it will be all be undone.  

I devote thirty minutes to conquering the laundry pile, only to realize my toddler has employed this same slot of time emptying out the contents of my file box.  

As I zip up an overstuffed backpack, the sky outside begins to fill with snowflakes- cancelling the trip over the pass that I’d spent the morning frantically packing for.

It’s 2 a.m. and I’m groggily swaddling my daughter back up, now that her diaper is clean- oh, just kidding- time to unswaddle and change her again.

It is moments like these that cause me to step back and acknowledge that so many of the things that bring me to a point of anxiety… The things that cause me to impatiently snap at my kids… The things I vent in frustration to my tired husband at the end of his work day:  It will all be undone.

For clean houses quickly become unclean (I hear the chorus of mothers saying “AMEN”).  Trips may be cancelled.  Diapers will be dirtied.  And of course, there are also much more painful things being “undone” than folded laundry.  It is not difficult to find the undoing of marriages, bodies, businesses, and even nature around us.

It does, however, take a much greater effort to find the beauty, healing and restoration taking place amidst those same things…  But it can be found!  And this is one of the reasons we must pray: to find, in all the undoing, that which cannot be undone…

We need a kingdom that cannot perish.  A mission that will not fail.  An eternal investment that cannot be destroyed.

When we tune into God’s heart, his plan, and his mission- we start to take part in this eternal will.  When we pray, “Thy will be done”, we stare into the face of the unraveling taking place around us, and we begin to see redemption in it all.  Where there is falling apart, prayer trains us to see and take part in building up.  Where there is evil, prayer leads us to overcome it with good.  Where life is being drained and despairing, prayer stirs us to take part in earth, “ as it is in heaven”.  

I don’t know exactly what my life would look like, if every moment I was praying “Thy will be done.”  I know that when I do actually stop to say, “God, how can you use this situation?  What is your heart here?” I find that hurried moments are transformed into hallowed opportunities and holy revelations.  

Instead of snapping at my sometimes-destructive son for inconveniencing me, I find a precious chance to extend grace and model love.  Rather than despairing at the unrelenting sickness that plagues my loved ones, I can sow seeds of hope and truth to those suffering.  

Sometimes, seeking the Lord’s heart brings about major course correction, radically altering the circumstances of our life.  Other times the changes are strictly inward- purified motives and renewed thoughts, undetected by others.

Regardless of the outcome, we can trust that seeking God through prayer, in everything from the trivial to the tragic, will inject his perfect, imperishable will into the “undoing” around us.  

“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life.” – John 6:27

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