Behind the Seen

By: Sandy Mayle

The next time you pray, stop and listen. 

Can you hear the roar of a bulldozer, the shouting of orders? Can you smell fresh-sawn wood, see hard-hats bobbing busily about between blueprints and buildings-in-progress?

If not, maybe it’s time to re-read 1 John 5:14-15: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”

We know that we have what we asked. Yes, the prayer of faith, the prayer prayed according to His will, believes that God will respond. Believes that when we present our need in faith He goes to work behind the seen, developing His best answer. 

Of course, we don’t know exactly what or how to pray, but God’s Word assures us that “the Holy Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication” (Rom. 8:26, AB). He presents our request, “reinterpreted,” to the Father in a way that harmonizes with His will and our need. He’s perfecting our request in order to obtain God’s perfect answer, pleading on our behalf  “with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance” (v. 26). 

The Father hears. And in response, blueprints are being laid out, sub-contractors are being lined up, workers (seen and unseen) are being hired and put to work. Work zone floodlights are switching on. Massive kingdom machinery is crawling all over the objects of our request, the terrain of our difficulty. God is ordering drilling, tunneling, rock-blasting, road-building, and site preparation. And He keeps working in the dark of indecision and desperation, through the night of spiritual blindness, in the foggy drizzle of doubt. 

In other words, prayer is a busy activity. Although our eyes may see no action and detect nothing out of the ordinary, God is at work. Our prayers, prayed in faith and according to His will, are being answered. 

Soooo…what prayers are you praying these days? Do you know God is hearing them? Then you know that without a doubt He is at work answering them in His way.

It may be a long-term project. Mountains aren’t leveled nor crooked roads made straight in the blink of an eye. Of course, it can happen immediately—with God anything is possible—but it seems He usually chooses to combine His miraculous touch with the persistence of prayer and the elbow grease of obedience to finally complete the construction of His answer.

That answer may not look at all like what we envisioned when we initially prayed. It might even be a disappointment at first, although in time it will certainly prove to be the highest-end of possible outcomes. 

Or it may far exceed what we didn’t even dare to ask for, when we prayed in faith, and God worked in response… behind the seen.

Sandy Mayle is a freelance writer for Christian publications and Just Between Us. She and her husband, Dave, live in Erie, Pa.