How tempting it is to pray for people what we think they need to hear. Seldom, though, do our little sermons in prayer do what we hope. Praying about those needs in secret is much more effective.
In her book Intimate Faith, Jan Winebrenner told of a secret prayer she knew God had answered. Her daughter Molly, a recent college graduate, had moved home to live and attend law school. When her schoolwork and relationships grew complicated and overwhelming, Jan began to pray secretly that Molly would learn of God's joy.
Over a period of weeks, Jan saw small evidences of joy in Molly's spirit. Then one day, during a snatch of conversation, Molly told Jan about a "what if" game she had played with a gang of singles the night before. One of the questions before the group was: "What if you had to give up all emotions but one--which one would you keep?"
Molly said her answer had been, "I wouldn't want to live my life without joy."
She left the room to study, so she didn't see Jan's tears. Jan was overwhelmed. God had heard her when no one else had.
When we pray in secret, we can see God work for us--God, and God alone.
Thank You, Father, for giving us grace to allow You to answer our prayers without our interference.
"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (Matthew 6:6).