At the start of the summer, I opted to interrupt my weekly blogs for a brief hiatus due to the crazy summer schedule at Rose of Sharon Church and Campground. My thought was that If I didn’t have anything worthwhile to write, I wouldn’t push out fluff content. With that, today I am bringing back the blog.
Hip! Hip! Hooray!
I did interrupt that hiatus for a brief live video on Facebook, and today I am bringing the content of that video into the written word format and expounding on a few thoughts I planted the seeds for in that initial post (6.28.16).
God began to stir up something within me during the first part of the year concerning my prayer life. Not that I didn’t pray or that I didn’t pray enough, but instead, I wasn’t praying with the directness that he so desired of me. After some much-needed direction from the Father, I began to think about my communication with him differently, and because of this, I began to pray differently.
This post is all about what I learned so without further introduction or procrastination…
God is a God of specificities which calls us as his children, on a fundamental level, to pray prayers of specificities.
Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?
Matt. 7:7-11 (MSG)
Think about it, the very first thing in this passage calls us out about our habit of bargaining with God. So many of us have gotten in the habit of being vague with the Father or plain out bartering with him. We struggle with saying, “this is the desire you have placed within me” and then we back peddle and use a lame “Christian cop-out” to give God an out as if he needs some lame human excuse as to why it didn’t go according to our plans.
Praying the will of the Father is the best thing you can ever do, but using it as an out for when things don’t go according to plan shows a lack of faith and trust in the Father.
Praying “God may your will for my life become mine as I submit my dreams, aspirations, and desires to your authority” is what we are supposed to do, and yet we treat prayer as a cat-and-mouse game. We ask for a little, take a little, pray God’s will, and then demand our own will to be brought to fruition. God gives us instructions throughout scripture on how we are to pray, and yet we ignore it all and go about our miserable, self-centered way.
God knows we are hard headed and strong willed because that is how he created us. From the fall of man to Moses hitting the rock, from Peter’s repeated denial to us in our lackadaisical Christianity; hard-headedness is a shared human trait. The only thing God requires from us when asking anything from him is to be direct (Matt. 7:7), asking with the tiniest amount of faith (Luke 17:6) from a place of sincerity and whole-heartedness (Jeremiah 29:13).
If faith moves mountains, why are prayers not moving the Father?
Digging a bit further, all my life I have been taught that faith moves mountains (Matthew 17:20), but so many are praying, and yet the Father has not yet been moved (stirred). Why? I think it has to do with a lack of faith and tepid, lukewarm prayers.
Take a look at Mark 10 and the encounter Jesus has with the blind man. Jesus asks the blind man what he wants, and the blind man says “I want to see,” and by his faith, the blind man is given his sight.
This encounter alone tells me that I do not need a degree in prayer for God to hear me. His ear is already inclined toward me. What is often missing is the faith and sincerity. Our eloquence does not move the heart of God, but it is instead our sincerity and our zeal.
“Seeing isn’t believing.” – The Santa Clause
Side note, take a look at the story of the woman at the well (John 4). When Jesus sees her, she is getting water to meet a need she recognizes, but he calls her attention to the root of the need; her need for him. Sometimes we may ask God for something, and we don’t see what we asked for. Seeing isn’t believing. Just because we don’t see the physical signs, doesn’t mean that God isn’t working things out on a more profound spiritual note.
Sometimes we may ask God for something, and our answer doesn’t get delivered the way we think it will be. God sees beyond our “petty” human desires and sees the bigger picture and can pinpoint the source of the need before we even blink. This again tells us that we should pray following his will for our life not our own, aligning what we want for ourselves with what he has for us.
Taking all this into consideration, we should learn how to pray with specificities; being direct with the Father, coming to him with a sincere and earnest heart that is full of faith and hope for the future.
Keep trusting the Father. Follow the example set forth by Christ. Let the Spirit lead you.