What should one’s prayer life look like? I wish I knew for certain. I’ve contemplated this question before and have not clearly come up with a defining answer. Lately, the question has become a burning desire within to discover the key; or keys.
I receive many requests from folks asking for prayer each week. They’re all similar, such as, “Please pray my friend doesn’t have cancer”. Or, please pray for my finances to improve, my house to sell, my car to keep running, my child’s teacher to have more patience, pray, so and so stops drinking, pray for my marriage to be better, especially the sex; pray for this to happen…. Or, pray for something not to happen, etc. It’s appears more like a “Laundry List” of to-do’s rather than an interaction in a relationship with the Creator of all things. Write them down, pray for them and check them off.
Is that all God is to us, to me, a vending machine? We put in our request and an answer pops out? Sadly, in many ways it is. Like all parents, God loves to spoil his children and lavish us with the desires of our heart. He loves to save the day when we’re struggling. He loves to sooth boo-boo’s and provide healing for our hurts. God has a plan working in each of our lives. This side of Heaven we do not clearly understand his plan. We often have no desire to hear God might have a different agenda, then the one we have, for our life. Maybe it’s not for us to be miraculously healed from Cancer, a broken ankle, a devastating accident or a debilitating disease. Maybe it’s not for us to make more money, or for our car to keep running or _____, you fill in the blank. Often, what appear to be bad circumstances is God working out a blessing for us in the future, or, hold on to your hats…. perhaps he is working out a blessing for someone else through you. Yep, life’s happenings aren’t always about you or me.
Example: On the way to the conference, where you are the guest speaker, your car suddenly stops running. You find yourself in the middle of nowhere; except for one lone house. You’re late and rushing to get to the airport. Your cell phone is not receiving a signal. You’re stuck! A young man exits the house and saunters over to see if he can help. In the course of conversing with the young man, he asks where you were going. You share you’re speaking at a conference on “The Interaction of God in People’s Lives”. The man asks many questions. You miss your plane. You finally get to your destination, exasperated, with a truthful comical opening line… “A funny thing happened to me on the way here”.
What you do not comprehend… the young man, whose house you came to a dead stop by, heard about Jesus during your interaction with him. The following Sunday he went to a little community church about 20 miles from his home; he wanted to know more about this Jesus of whom you spoke. He eventually became a Christian (a follower of Jesus). He lived out his remaining years actively telling others about the love of God and his son Jesus Christ. God used you in an isolated part of the country, to spark a curiosity in this young man, to know more about God. Yes, sometimes rotten circumstances are about a divine interaction (appointment) leading to eternal blessings and the furtherance of God’s plan in someone’s, or in many someone’s lives.
How should we pray? Should we pray for rotten circumstances… whoa, now there’s a scary thought! Couldn’t it be enough to simply say, “Lord, please heal my friend”? Yes, of course. This nagging feeling deep in the pit of who I am tells me there is more. I believe God wants more from me; from us. More than a list we merely check off; more than a cursory do this or do that please, God. More than rote prayers, offered without much thought, of would ya, could ya, and by the way thanks.
To be continued….
Until next time,