“May Your ways be known throughout the earth, Your saving power among people everywhere.” (Psalm 67:7 NLT)
John Stonestreet of the Colson Center wrote: “Not only is prayer the practice of appealing to the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, it is an essential way to align our hearts and minds with His. To have a Christian worldview is to think like God thinks. Prayer accomplishes this.”
In my mind, that summarizes our goal in prayer. I’m so prone to think of prayer as speaking to God, but I learn very little, if anything, when I’m talking. My most effective and fruitful periods of prayer are the times I take the time to listen, not just as I read the Bible, but as I literally stay silent and listen for God’s still, small voice.
Learning that the Almighty God isn’t our proverbial “Genie in the bottle,” is a giant step. Sometimes we’re tempted to treat God like He’s an order taker at a drive-up window: “Hi, I’ll have a raise, a great night with my wife, and a new car. Thanks.” It’s humbling when He answers: “Hmmm, your order isn’t coming through. Could you have come to the wrong drive-through?”
He’s also teaching me to be more grateful. Often, rather than asking Him for something that’s clearly in line with His will, He’s leading me simply to thank Him in advance as an act of faith and worship. For example, I’ve struggled for months with whether or not to sell a car that I dearly love. I took it to the Lord and said: “Father, I love You supremely and I don’t want anything to keep my focus from being fully on You. When the time is right, thank You for letting me know.” I’m not begging for an answer, I’m leaving the decision up to Him.
Recently in a devotion I was reading, a grandfather was speaking with his 5-year-old grandson who was explaining what he wanted to be when he grew up. Then he added, “of course, it’s up to Jesus.” That’s the kind of attitude I want to have when I pray.
There’s a sense in which prayer is opening our heart and mind to see the future from God’s perspective. Our framework is so limited and often so short sighted. We tend to want what we want when we want it and it’s hard for us to see things any other way but our own. Personally, I want what God wants, regardless of the way it may seem to me. God can see through the clouds of doubt and uncertainty into the brilliant light of His will for me (and you 😊). Our thinking may be filled with questions, leading to fear and reservation, but that can simply be as the mist of the morning before the sun breaks through.
When you think of prayer as the “work” that opens the door for God to work, it can have enormous benefit for those willing to learn to pray, not simply learn to “say prayers.” “Now I lay me down to sleep…” is a wonderful prayer for children to learn, but as believers in Jesus we must take the time and make the effort to learn to speak and listen to Him in much the same way we’d speak to anyone else in our life whose friendship, love, and closeness we value.
Sometimes the most profound and uplifting prayer we can offer to the Lord is: “Heavenly Father, my Friend, I need You. I’m at a loss and don’t know what to do or which way to turn. I’m not seeing clearly how to move forward in my life. I don’t even know what to ask You to do for me other than hold me and help me find my way.”
In my life I’ve found this to be true: “You don’t know God is all you need until you discover God is all you’ve got.” When you finally discover the true and living God, prayer will be worth the effort.
Blessings, Ed 😊
One thought on “Prayer IS Doing Something (Part 2)”
Pastor Ed, your blog is part of my daily morning devotions. Yesterday’s and today’s blogs (March 16 & 17) were keepers for sure. While I do have a continuous conversation going with the Lord, I find myself failing to stop long enough to REALLY listen. He keeps answering my every prayer, and I thank Him constantly, but my listening part needs improvement for sure. You gave me a reminder to just be quiet and listen more. Thank you!
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