Read: Hebrews 11
It has been my experience that when God answers prayer, it often looks very different than I thought it would. Have you ever prayed that a situation would change in a certain way, and God, instead of snapping His heavenly fingers and fixing the mess, bids you to roll up your sleeves and get involved in the hard and sanctifying work of resolving matters? How about that awkward relationship with the annoying person who gets right under your skin? If God would just make her see things from your point of view… But what does He do more often than not? He exposes your own heart and reminds you of your angry words and graceless attitude. Not what you had in mind!
Hebrews 11:1 defines faith beautifully. Prayer in that context is one way faith is worked out. Prayer embodies a deep conviction that even though we may not see it, God is working in our situation, listening to our pleas, doing what is necessary even when circumstances look bleak. Prayer embraces "the assurance of things hoped for" which is the certainty that He will remain true to His promises.
As we pray for grace, unity, and healing in our church body, we can be sure of a few things: we'll probably need to have our own individual heart exam; we'll most certainly need to roll up our sleeves and get involved in reconciling differences; and we will continue having faith that God is working in us and in our church.