Prayer. It’s kind of normal to talk about in the Christian-sphere, but it goes a bit beyond our understanding. We’ve been given the Lord’s prayer, by the Lord himself. Some churches have prayers pre-written, some people like to come up with words of the top of their head. Prayer isn’t about impressing God with our words and making sure you word things right so something else doesn’t happen. There is no right and wrong way to pray. We won’t change his mind, it’s already made up. So why should we pray? Pastor Jim talked about prayer on Sunday morning. Don’t you think that God likes to hear what we think? I journal a lot of my prayers and have plenty of talks at God. He doesn’t mind. But he tells us to listen, too (harder for me sometimes). That’s what the Word is for. What if prayer is for us? In Genesis 18, God tells Abraham about the outcry against Sodom. Abraham banters with God (not the joking-kind of banter, but the negotiating-kind of banter). “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? If there were fifty righteous people, will you destroy it?” God tells him that he won’t. Proceed long bantering until Abraham brings the number down to ten. Still, God won’t destroy it, he tells Abraham, if there are only ten righteous people with the wicked. Did Abraham change God’s mind? Perhaps. Abraham was satisfied. He had been heard by God, who took time to talk with him. And God DID save the righteous in Sodom. In Luke 11, after Jesus gives the disciples the Lord’s prayer (not on a notebook page so it can be remembered, but just talked and told, ‘cuz people could remember better back then than apparently I do), he compares our asking for something in prayer like a child asking his or her parent for something. “Even the wicked give their children good gifts,” Jesus tells his listeners. “Of course your Father in heaven will give so much more to those who ask him!” I paraphrased a little, but you know what I’m saying, I hope. The kicker is to ASK. That’s the active part of the incredible relationship we have with the Creator of Everything. But, you also have to thank for what you’ve already received. We all know the person who asks and asks and asks and gets and gets and gets but keeps asking for more. If we don’t, we can imagine the annoyance. What if you ask a couple times (‘cuz we’re told to be persistent), and then THANK God what else he’s been doing? I really love talking about what God’s been doing in someone else’s life. I think that some people I know purposely skirt around that question because it’s just different. But what if we all really looked at what God has done for us each day? What joy we would find! “Today, I made this mistake, but I didn’t die when I accidentally ran that light. Thanks, God!” That was vague. ‘Cuz I’ve…never…ran…a light. But seriously. I try and look at the positives. Maybe because I’m an optimist. I went in the ditch and hit a pole in high school, but I didn’t total the car or die and my parents got the car fixed. Or, I accidentally paid the wrong person August’s rent, but she didn’t do anything to it and I got it back right away to give to the correct roommate I hadn’t met yet. Whoops. I make a lot of mistakes, but they could be so much worse.
A few days ago, I was thinking about how blessed I am. Seriously. I live in America where we are not physically persecuted for our faith, and my entire family has such an amazing faith and I can talk about it with them. In the post “God’s Summer School,” I kind of talked about what God has been doing for me this summer. He really has done just as much for me since I can remember. His hand has been protecting me. The other day, I was reading about Hannah in 1 Samuel 1. God let Hannah reach a point of desperation when she was weeping like crazy and crying out to him. But then he answered her prayer. Why did he wait until she reached the point of desperation? Would she have known the significance of his hearing her prayer if he hadn’t? We don’t notice little things, this is true. But what if we looked for the little things? I encourage you to pray for eyes to see those little things. It really is transforming, and I don’t even see very much! But I see more than nothing.
Last week I’m like, “Lord, what did I do to deserve all these blessings from you?” And as soon as I said it, I’m like “Gah!” because we didn’t do ANYTHING. The biggest blessing and gift of grace was Christ dying on the cross, that we can have eternal life with HIM. We certainly didn’t do anything to deserve that.
This is getting to be a long post with a bunch of tangents, but I digress. Prayer is such a big deal because the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. How crazy is it that we humans, flesh and bone, can just talk to the God of the Universe whenever? And he LISTENS? Not only that, but he promises:
9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10
How cool is that!? (smiley face)