I’ve been frustrated and confused about prayer for a while.
A few questions rattling around in my head….
-If God already knows what I want and need…and if I trust Him totally with outcomes, why would He want me to go over, and over, and over what’s on my mind? That seems inconsistent with what a perfect Father would want from His son.
-We get a lot of our motivation to pray ‘hard’ for what we want from Jesus’ parable of the stranger who came asking for bread late at night. In that story, the master rewarded the stranger’s persistence with the bread he asked for. We’ve been taught to do the same thing…to keep asking and asking and asking. Is that what Jesus was really saying?
– Tasked to ask and ask, over and over, prayer has ‘devolved’ into “Well, all we can do is pray.” Sounds like a fatalistic, frustrating and faithless exercise that comes after everything else. It’s like “Hey, if there’s a one in a thousand chance I can do something to affect the outcome, I’ll go do it. But when that options’ gone, all we can do is pray.” Last resort. Lowest odds. God is the twelfth man on the bench. The only remaining pitcher in the bullpen. The last pinch hitter.
What if we start asking God how He’d have us pray?
Check out this story. Written by a daughter. Her mother with cancer. (From Peter Lord’s book, Hearing God)
The surgeon thought perhaps my mother would have three months. We began to ask our Father what we could pray for her. Our pastor had taught us that all prayer begins in the heart of the Father. Find out what is being done in heaven and pray for that on earth-Get in agreement with the Father.
God gave the daughter specific things to pray for her mom and she prayed them as the Lord directed. Her mom lived another 18 months and “because of the Lord’s insight, His truth, we were not overcome by presumptions or false expectations.”
Here’s what I’m learning….God wants fellowship with me. Conversation. Yes, He wants us to talk to Him, but He wants to talk to us too. It may be that we’ve formed habits so thoughtless, we’re like the neighbor who ‘talks at you’ but never ‘talks with you’…never lets you get a word in edgewise. What if God wants to speak to us? What if God wants to guide our prayers and tell us what to ask for? What if we’re shutting out the voice of the very God we want to connect with?
Maybe “pray without ceasing” means constant conversation with our Heavenly Father…conversation started with words like these….
– “What would you have me know about this situation, Lord?”
– “Thank you Father for loving me and being here with me.”
– “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”
– “Lord, how would you have me help?”
– “Here’s my heart Lord. Speak what is true”.
Lord is ‘an old soul,’ now in his 80’s. He says “90% of what God says to me is encouragement.”
It’s the same for me. While I’ve gotten better at knowing what to take to the Lord and what to ask, the vast majority of the time, His words to me are “I love you, Regi.” And that’s enough. That’s all the encouragement a man could ask for. To know his Heavenly Father is there, hears his voice, knows his name, and loves him. That’s fresh air every time.
Question: Are you pouring out countless words and missing the chance to hear from God personally? Share your thoughts here……
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