About the Author

Anna is the author of A Moment of Christmas and Pumpkin Spice for Your Soul. She's worked at (in)courage since 2012, and lives in Minnesota with her husband and their four kids. Anna encourages others to look for and embrace the extraordinary moments found in their ordinary days.

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  1. Anna,
    I really think God is getting His message across to me regarding prayer. He has been speaking to me a lot, through His Word, other blogs, books, etc., that my prayer life needs a little shaking up. It’s so much more than a checklist. I read one viewpoint that prayer is active…like two buckets on a pulley…while one is ascending to Heaven with our prayers, the other is already descending with God’s answers. I’ve also been learning to pray with thanksgiving…not after the prayer has been answered, but pre-emptively thanking God for how He is going to answer my prayer. These are just a couple of Ah-ha moments for me…but you are so right in reminding your son, and us, that God ALWAYS answers prayers. Thanks for reinforcing a message God has been speaking to my heart.
    Blessings,
    Bev

  2. Hi Anna,

    I really like the illustration the bible gives of the incense is the prayers of the saints going to heaven, and the incense is sweet smelling. So, our prayers are sweet smelling to God. He delights in them. Dutch Sheets touched on the prayers getting full and then the angel emptying the bowl with the answer. We’re filling our prayer bowls when we pray. Pretty powerful, whether it is thunder and lightning, or as you mentioned, quietly. It still is moving the heart of our God.

    Joanne

  3. Hi Anna, “The scent of incense permeates and sticks, and I like to think that our prayers do the same to the heart of God.” Yes, He never tires of us and just bids us “Come” to a living, breathing, deep relationship with Him. My faith is growing to not only view Him with reverence and awe (the Divine wonder of God), but also as a Best Friend, as someone deeply invested in loving and guiding me. So appreciated your words.

    • Lol, hubby and I share an email with both our names, force of habit writing his name first, posted by Veronica. 🙂

  4. “Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them.” Jeremiah 11:11

    There may be time or reason that although God can hear our prayers…he doesn’t listen.

    • True. I’d love to dive into the Hebrew and see what they used for the word ‘listen’ vs. the word ‘hearing’ – even in todays contexts I think those have different meanings. Interesting stuff – the Bible never fails to make me think!!

  5. I love this! It reminds me of a quote I read earlier. It went something like “when it’s hard to pray, pray hard”. I have no idea who said it.

    Recently, I realized a parenting mistake I was making. Before I would take my five kids into a store (and at various other times) I would tell them to not ask me for anything. Well, at one point I was pondering the difficulty that I have with asking God for things or just talking to him about small things. After thinking about it I realized that the root came from being taught, by my well intentioned parents, to never ask anyone for anything…including them. And that kind of changed my perspective with my kids. My relationship with them is teaching them about their relationship with God, right? I want them to be comfortable asking…because I want them to get into the habit of understanding that there’s just as much love behind my ‘no’ and ‘not yet’ as there is behind my ‘yes’. Because I want them to translate that to their relationship with God. I want them to know that whether or not they get the answer they are hoping for, God loves them and hears them. There is just as much love behind HIS ‘no’ and ‘not yet’ as there is behind HIS ‘yes’.

  6. As a young teen I was taught wrongly that I had to have EVERY sin in my life confessed or God didn’t hear my prayers. Basically He turned His back unless my confessions were absolutely complete and led to a perfectly clean slate. The enemy has used that bad theology to shred my prayer life ever since.

  7. Anna,
    I am proud of you for setting your son straight. It is important for him to know that God will ALWAYS hear our prayers–no matter what!
    I have heard several formulas for prayers like: Parts–Praise, Ask, Repent, Thank & Share. It doesn’t matter how eloquent we are or how often we pray for one thing or person. Just begin by praising God for all He’s done for you. Then ask for your requests. Thank Him for answers soon to come & share with others. Don’t just pray a “prayer-list” type of prayer. God will always hear our prayers as sweet smelling incense. We need to do it often.
    Blessings 🙂

  8. “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me[a] for anything, I will do it.

    —Jesus of Nazareth

    Do you remember asking Jesus for the BIG stuff when you were a little kid? You asked Jesus to give you three ponies ( a black one, a brown one, and a white one) for Christmas. You asked Jesus to bring back your favorite GI Joe after he washed down the street drain in a storm. When your dog, Tippy, died you asked Jesus to bring him back from the dead. When you heard about all the starving children in the world, you prayed to Jesus to leave an envelope with one million bucks inside on your doorstep the next morning so you could feed all those starving kids.

    So why don’t you ask Jesus for the BIG stuff anymore? He said to ask for anything and he would do it!

    Answer: When we get a little older we realize that Jesus didn’t really mean what he said. What he meant to say was this,

    “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it…if…it is my will to do it. If it isn’t my will, I won’t.”

    So as we get older we stop asking Jesus for the big things, the hard things, because we have learned that Jesus never answers those prayers. Ok, maybe once in a great while Jesus answers a big or hard prayer but it is always something that could have happened by chance anyway, isn’t it? Even really rare things can happen by chance. But Jesus never resurrects Grandpa or Grandma from the dead, no matter how hard we pray, does he? Jesus never reattaches a severed limb from an amputee, does he?

    No, Jesus doesn’t answer those prayers. That is asking Jesus for just a little too much, isn’t it, dear Christian? That is why when you get older you only ask Jesus for the easy stuff: To bless your food. To give you a “nice day”. To keep your kids safe.

    And when it is time to go to bed at night, you get down on your knees by your bed and you ask Jesus to bless everyone in your life; you thank him for having let you and your children live one more day…and then you fall asleep into your pillow…to wake up in the morning…to repeat the same prayer…full of easy requests, so you don’t ask too much of Jesus…who promised to give you anything that you asked for.

    But, maybe you’re not asking Jesus for too much. Maybe the reason Jesus doesn’t answer the big or the hard prayer requests is because Jesus can’t hear you. Jesus can’t hear you…because Jesus is dead.

    Dear Christian: You are an adult now. Just as you stopped believing in imaginary beings called Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, it is time to stop believing in and praying to an ancient man/god who died 2,000 years ago. The “Virgin Birth”, the “Resurrection”, etc., are ancient folk tales. Jesus doesn’t answer your prayer requests any more than Santa and the Tooth Fairy answered your requests to them when you were a kid.

    It’s a silly superstition and nothing more, friend. The fact that Jesus doesn’t answer your “big” prayers is proof. I know that it is painful to accept, but its the truth.