All of us pray with an underlying assumption. We usually aren’t aware of this assumption, but it’s always there. And this assumption will generally fit into one of two categories—futility or expectation.
The futility assumption says, “This prayer probably won’t change anything, but I’ll give it a shot.” It’s like shooting an arrow at an unseen bullseye and hoping it hits. “Maybe it’s God’s will, and maybe he’ll answer, so no harm putting it out there. But I’m not getting my hopes up.” These thoughts are rooted in disappointment, and we would never articulate them, even if we were conscious of them. But this could often be the attitude between the lines of our prayers.
The expectation assumption says, “This is accomplishing something, even if I don’t see it right now—or ever.” It’s a prayer anchored in the confident hope that God will move—because he promised, because he’s good, because this is just what he does. We might not be aware of these thoughts any more than the others, but they color our prayers just as powerfully. And they can lead to remarkable breakthroughs.
In his mercy, God sometimes answers shot-in-the-dark prayers offered without much hope. But the prayers that really move him are those that count on his goodness to respond. “When you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord" (James 1:6-7). But the one who believes absolutely should expect to receive.
Pray with confidence. Regardless of what you see with your eyes, God is responding somehow. He said he would. Believe, and you’ll eventually see.
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