God has a funny way of really getting your attention.
Yesterday, I began writing a post on prayer and how we try to curry favor from God. We think that if we butter Him up with flattering adjectives and phrases, dubbing it “praise”, then He’ll be in a better mood to answer our prayer requests.
And well, I was three-fourths of the way done with the entry. I was going to finish it up today and then post it up on here. And then today happened.
What happened, you ask? Well, yesterday I was in a situation where I needed to pray. A situation where only God could make a way and help. And I prayed earnestly, without empty words, but as a helpless child who goes to his father. I wasn’t too sure if He would grant me this, but I knew that only He could do it. I really wasn’t thinking about the situation when I was typing away at the post, just making observations. But separate from my blog, I was fervently asking God for help.
Today, I got a call. And it was an answer to my prayer. It was my request and then some. And at that point, all I could do was acknowledge that God, in His grace, had said yes. And more than just warm fuzzies, it reminded me that I belong to God, the most supreme Being in the universe. And He who has no beginning actually gives ear to my cries and pleas, and listens. And not just listens, but He acts. God moves in history on behalf of His own.
I hardly hear anyone claim that they have a great prayer life. It’s one of those things all of us wish we were better at. Growing up, I always heard stories of people who had these impressive prayer regimens. An hour in the morning. An hour or two in the evening. It gave you the impression that they were these resilient, resolute people who were ever on their knees. And I envied these claims and was honestly a bit skeptical. But one thing kept me from writing these folks off as fibbers: my mom. Every morning she would get up and pray, oftentimes fasting as well, crying out to God, imploring Him in her native tongue. She still does it. But even she will tell you that she doesn’t pray enough.
If you’re a Christian, it is understood that you pray; it’s part of the territory, part of the calling. It’s not really an option. You can’t just be “friends” with God and not talk to Him. Jesus is not your Facebook friend.
If you claim to be a follower of Jesus, if you claim that He is your hope, salvation, love, everything to you, but you don’t talk to Him… then I would boldly say you’re deluding yourself. If a guy told me he was in a serious relationship with a girl, but it had been a few weeks since he had talked to her (and she could be easily contacted), then I would call him a liar. But that’s just me. Who wants to hear my opinions?
So Christian, when you pray, God listens! You are not just speaking empty words into air, but are invoking the Sovereign Father as His child. That’s powerful! That’s awe-inspiring! And incredibly humbling.
I don’t have to go into detail about how God doesn’t always answer every prayer with a “yes”. Life teaches us that. And it frustrates and angers a lot of people. Frankly, we think the universe (and God) revolves around us. We like to think our will is His will.
Sometimes, the prayer is met with silence. Jesus prayed that if possible, the cup of wrath and death be taken away. God didn’t grant that. And that’s because Christ walking to the cross fell into God’s greater will and purpose. God and His glory is at the center of everything.
But that ought not to discourage us in praying! We pray all the more knowing that we are helpless and God is mighty. He can move. And He does move.
And sometimes… He does say “yes”. Sometimes things play out as we hoped. It would be a shame to chalk it up to coincidence.
Give credit where it’s due.
God loves us so much that He would stoop down to our level to communicate with us and make Himself known. Can you imagine that? A perfect, holy, powerful, creative God relating to imperfect, broken, sinful, weak humans. And yet He longs to be in relationship with us! This experience has taught me of the overwhelming beauty of the grace of God in allowing me to relate to Him! For crying out loud, He sent Christ to draw us into relationship! To quote Gym Class Heroes, “if that ain’t love, then I don’t know what love is.”
Whatever you believe, go talk to Him. Just talk.
Oh, how He loves us!