When I was a high schooler, my friends and I spent a Friday night in a part of the county where we did not belong. As far as my parents knew, I was at the local ice creamery enjoying a treat with my friends. Actually, we were twenty miles away from home, in the country, looking for fun on a country road. We didn’t have fun. Instead, we had a flat. The spare tire was flat, too. We had no other option except to call my dad. I rousted him out of bed at the midnight hour.
He drove his truck out into the back roads and found us. We fixed the tire and drove home. When we reached the house he sat me down in the living room and gave me a good talk. He took away my car keys. He took away my privileges. But then, surprisingly, he took away my fear by saying, “Max, I’m upset with you. But I understand the temptations. I remember what it is like to be a teenager.”
Dad, a teen? Shocking thought. But he remembered.
God, a human? Stunning truth. But he remembers. “We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin.” (Hebrews 4:15 MSG) There is never a time that he responds to your prayer with this thought: “I just don’t get it.”
He knows how you feel.
And, this is huge, “he knows what you need before you ask him.” (Mt. 6:8) You don’t have to write your own prescription. God doesn’t need our counsel or advice. “Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear.” (Isa. 65:24)
People sometimes say, “Be careful what you pray for, God will give it to you.” Hogwash. If you don’t need it, he won’t give it. He loves you too much to give you the wrong answer. Is God no more than a computer, programmed to respond to the data you enter? By no means! He is your Father who says: “I know the thoughts I think towards you…thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope…call upon me and pray to me and I will listen to you.” (Jer. 29:11)
Prayer is only as good as God is. Since he is good, so is prayer. Prayer works because he does. Prayer changes things because God changes things. Prayer makes a difference because God has determined to make a difference. Prayer matters because you matter to God.
© 2012 Max Lucado