When I order something from Amazon, I begin to expect its delivery. Then, when I hear a car noise, I immediately think it is a delivery truck. But, when I didn’t order anything (but my wife did), even when the delivery truck is here, I don’t pay attention because I wasn’t expecting it.
The answer to our prayer is like the delivery truck. We recognize what we anticipate. I think that is why God wants us to pray. When we pray believing that God is our heavenly Father, we expect the answer, and we can recognize it when it comes. When we don’t pray, even when we get things we need, we don’t acknowledge that they came from God. Prayer increases our awareness of God whom we cannot see and helps us experience him more often.
Many long-time Christians don’t expect prayer to get answered because prayer became a religious activity they got used to. They think prayer is something we offer to God. I used not to expect much from prayer until I began to share my prayer request every week at house church and realized it got answered so many times. Now, I begin to anticipate the answer to my prayer more eagerly than before.
I pray for my kids every night for a few specific things. As I repeat, it became a prayer I can recite word for word every time. Sometimes I wonder if they will get answered. I sometimes worry if opposite results will come out. But the more I repeat the prayer, the more I begin to expect it to get answered. I am reminded of my limitation but also God’s faithfulness as I listen to my prayer.
So, keep your prayer requests at hand. Write them down and repeat. We need an expectation to pray, but we also need to pray to have an expectation.. As we repeat our prayer requests, we begin to expect God to answer them. We think we are praying for God to hear us, but maybe we hear our prayer more.