is an important way in which we establish a proper relationship with God. But why sometimes doesn’t God hear our prayers? How should we pray to receive God’s praise? I was confused by these problems in the past. But now I have a new knowledge of prayer through a special experience.
Flu Breaking Out, I Prayed for My Son
There has been a large-scale flu outbreak recently, and many people got sick, especially the children. Because of their young age and poor immunity, many children had a cold and fever. There were relevant reports and posts both on WeChat Moments and in Wechat groups. Seeing that every major children’s hospital was overcrowded, and that it took a few hours to line up, I prayed to God in my heart, “God! Everything is controlled in Your hands. My son has a weak constitution. I don’t know whether he can overcome it or not. Oh God! I’m willing to entrust my son to You and may You protect him.”
Seeing my classmates and friends were busy taking their children to see a doctor, I felt very happy that I could rely on God. However, sometimes I would still worry about my son, so I always prayed to God for him.
My Son Getting the Flu, I Was Anxious
Several days later, my son got flu as well. His tonsils were inflamed and sometimes he had a cough. He snored loudly when sleeping. At night, I had to accompany him to sleep. Seeing that he opened his mouth slightly to breathe and that sometimes he could only inhale but could not exhale, I dared not to fall asleep and worried about him a lot.
Afterward, I prayed to God, “God! Now the flu is very severe and my son is also attacked. I think he is really sick. His tonsils are inflamed and he snores loudly while sleeping. God! I beg You to protect him. If my son is seriously ill, I will have to stay at home. In this way, my daily spiritual devotions and my services will be affected. God, please give me a way out.”
His Illness Worsening, I Complained About God
After going to see the doctor and having a rest at home at the weekend, he seemed better and his tonsils became small. However, his illness worsened after he went to school for two days. I thought he might be infected by his classmates. My husband asked him to request time off and I agreed. In a twinkling, my son rested at home for almost a week. However, his tonsils didn’t become small in two or three days as usual. It was almost ten days yet he still didn’t get better. I was very worried about him.
After reading some materials about the disease, I suspected that he got adenoidal hypertrophy. The materials show that the disease will lead to poor sleep and affect brain and body development. I worried more: Although this disease can be cured through surgery, my son is too young to have an operation; if he just takes medicine, it doesn’t work well, but the doctor has no better ways to cure his illness. Hearing my son’s snores, I always worried about him and dared not to fall asleep. It was difficult to live in such a way.
At the time, I was confused in my heart: I have been praying to God for my son’s illness, but why doesn’t he get better? How long do I have to live such a life? If he goes on like this all the time, won’t his illness become more serious? Why did God not hear my prayers? Why is this so?
Recognizing My Impurity, I Felt Indebted
One day, I saw the Bible saying, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Pondering God’s words, I suddenly realized that God likes it when we worship Him in spirit and truth. But I found there were many impurities in my prayers for my son’s illness. First, I prayed to the Lord many times only when I encountered difficulties I couldn’t solve myself. In my prayers, I regarded God as a straw for me to clutch at and hoped to gain help, asking Him to cure my son’s illness; second, I only told the Lord my difficulties in my prayers, with transactions and impurities. I didn’t have a seeking heart and true obedience to God at all. In my prayers, I spoke high-sounding words, but in my heart I made demands on God saying: “I have already prayed to You. Please make my son recover soon. In this way, I can focus on my services.” Just as God’s words reveal, “Regardless of what happens to them, or what they’re dealing with, people always protect their own interests and look out for their own flesh, and they always look for reasons or excuses that serve them. They are without the slightest truth, and everything they do is in order to justify their own flesh and in consideration of their own prospects. They all claim grace from God, trying to gain whatever advantage they can. And why do they make excessive demands of God? This proves that people are naturally greedy. They are not possessed of any sense before God, and in everything they do—whether they are praying or communing or preaching—in what they pursue, and in their inner thoughts and their desires, they make demands of God and claim things from Him, hoping to gain something from Him. … What problem is proven by people’s excessive demands of God? It proves the extent of their corruption by Satan, which means that, in their belief in God, people don’t treat Him as God at all.”
After reflection, I saw my own sordid ugliness. Because of my selfishness and greediness, I always wanted to obtain grace and benefits from God. I never sought, nor opened up my hearts telling Him my lack and rebelliousness when I prayed. I didn’t have genuine obedience to God. On the contrary, I always asked God to do things according to my own will and did not treat God as God. In fact, I not only prayed to God in such a way in my son’s disease, but always made demands on God in my daily life. I wished that God should keep my job going smoothly, my family in peace and security, and keep the bad things away from me. I would complain about God if He did not answer my prayers. How could God listen to my unreasonable prayers? Wasn’t I talking idiotic nonsense? Thinking of these, I saw my own sordid ugliness and could not help but feel indebted to God.
Understanding the Truth, I Found a Path to Practice
Afterward, I saw God’s words saying, “You seldom have a true prayer, and some of you even don’t know how to pray; in fact, prayer is mainly about speaking what is in your heart, just like a normal conversation. However, some people take the wrong position when they pray, and regardless of whether it conforms with God’s will or not, they demand God to bestow what they ask for upon them. As a result, the more they pray the duller it becomes. When praying, whatever your heart asks for, desires, and requests, or when you wish to take care of some matters that you don’t fully understand you ask God for wisdom, strength, or enlightenment, you must be reasonable in the way you speak. If you are unreasonable, and you kneel and say: ‘God, give me power and let me see my nature; I ask You to do it. Or, I ask You to give me this or that, I ask You to let me be like this or like that,’ this word ‘ask’ carries an element of force, and is like exerting pressure on God to make Him do it. Moreover, you predetermine your own matters. The Holy Spirit sees such prayers as: Since you have already predetermined it yourself, and you want to do it that way, what will be the outcome of this kind of prayer? You should seek and submit in your prayers; for example, if a matter came upon you that you didn’t know how to handle, then you say: ‘Oh God! This matter has come upon me, and I don’t know how to handle it. I am willing to satisfy You in this matter, I am willing to seek You, I desire for Your will to come to pass, I desire to do according to Your intentions, and not according to my own. You know that the intentions of man are in violation of Your will; they resist You and do not conform with truth. I only desire to do according to Your intentions. I ask You to enlighten me and guide me in this matter, so that I won’t offend You….’ This kind of tone of voice in prayer is appropriate.”
From God’s words, I understood that I should be reasonable as a created being and take the right position when I pray. I should seek God’s will and stand in the place of a created being, giving my true heart to God. I should neither impose my own thoughts onto God, nor exploit God or do a deal with Him. Only by standing in the right position and having a right attitude, can my relationship with God be normal. After praying, we should learn to wait, seek and have faith in God instead of harboring conceptions, doubting or determining Him. God does His work in His own time, and sometimes He tests us to see whether we truly believe in and rely on Him when we pray, and to see whether we have demands and impurities. Meanwhile, we should reflect repeatedly whether our heart is sincere. At that point, my heart became bright and clear. I knew what I should do. I can pray to God for my child, but first I should keep a heart of obedience to God and wait for His time. I should not make requirements of God but believe that God’s good intention is there no matter what He does.
Later, I prayed to God, “Oh God, thank and praise You! I regarded You as a straw for me to clutch at when my son was ill. I did not completely submit to You and entrust him to You with a true heart. I only wanted You to remove the people, events and objects that were not compatible with my will, to cure my son’s illness soon. God! I saw that I was full of impurities and demands of You in my prayers. I am not an honest person. Oh God! I am going to put aside my incorrect demands and obey Your arrangements. I believe that you do all things in Your own time and I will do everything in my power and leave the rest to heaven. I will take care of my son carefully, but at the same time I would like to entrust him to You. Whether he will get better or not, I will accept and submit.”
Examined Again, I Put Aside My Impurities
Another week passed, but my son’s snores were still loud and his tonsil was big. At that time, my heart ached. However, I thought that when Job lost his children and his livestock that filled the mountains, and his body became covered in sore boils, he would rather curse the day of his birth than complain about God. He did not make demands on God to remove such environment. He was convinced that both giving and taking away were arranged by God, so he maintained a heart of obedience, praying to God, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). I should follow Job’s example and no matter what the result of my son’s illness was, I should not make demands on or complain about God. This was the rationality I ought to possess. Later on, I gradually put aside my son’s illness and no longer made demands on God when I prayed, just ensuring that he got the treatment he needed. When I learned how to obey God’s arrangements, one day, my husband and I found my son stopped snoring that loudly, and that there were fewer times when he could only exhale but could not inhale. I couldn’t help but thank God for His mercy from the bottom of my heart.
Through this experience, I received a lot: I not only knew my impurities in my prayer, but also understood that I should stand in a right position as a created being and keep a heart of obedience to pray. In this way, we could meet God’s will. I am willing to practice this aspect from now on. I am grateful to God for all His arrangements. Thanks to His enlightenments and guidance, I understand these. All the glory be to God!