“…Seeking your face, and not only your hand.” (1)
Every time I’ve felt miserable because I have not received something I asked God for, those words have reminded me that it is more important for me to seek to know God for his own sake than it to receive blessings from his hands. I have found that there is great blessing in resting in God’s hands, the more I know and I love him the less entitled I feel to receive everything I want.
Bearing that in mind how am I supposed to think about prayer?
Have you ever heard the expression ‘Prayer doesn’t change God it changes you’? Well, I heard it in a new way today “Prayer does not change the will of God. Prayer submits to the will of God.” (2)
What these two expressions tell me is that prayer does me way more good than simply getting the thing I have asked for- because most times we are asking for things. Praying is how I recognize that I am not the supreme ruler of my life’s events or the world around me and that nothing is out of the control of “…the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy.” (Is 57:15)
I should remember it is an act of obedience
We are instructed to pray; when the Lord Jesus was giving his disciples the model prayer he said “When you pray” not if you pray, it is expected of the Lord’s disciples- which we profess to be- to pray. So praying is an act of obedience to God. If that does not say it clearly enough for you, Luke 18:1 makes it clear that we are to pray and not lose heart- the second part is as important as the first because we do tend to lose heart when we’ve been asking for the same thing for a while and the answer we want does not come.
I should remember it is an example from our Lord
Christ did not only give us an example of a praying life, he showed us exactly how we ought to come to the Father; recognizing his sovereign power over every event and our need to submit to Him. If the Holy, blameless and undefiled Son of God would submit to the Father’s will in prayer –and all of life- who are we to dismiss prayer?
I should never forget it shows my dependence on God
In circumstances that we consider worldly, in other words not in God’s purview, we say “Forget prayer, take action!”, “Prayer is not enough or cannot save you, take charge.” Prayer is not only enough, it is all you need because you are not sovereign over anything as Paul E. Miller says in his book A Praying Life “If you are not praying then you are quietly confident that time, talent and money are all you need in life.” If indeed you are a Christian and you know the LORD you serve then you know you cannot put stock in fleeting things when your Father- who is omnipotent has asked you to bring everything that worries you to him, 1 Peter 5:7. If for some reason you are in doubt about the power of God or His understanding of your issues remember this; “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all.” Psalm 139:1-4
- “Audience of One” Big Daddy Weave ©Warner Chapel Music 2002
- Steve Lawson on Twitter 2020