Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pray Hard(er)??

I have been thinking about our Sunday school message a lot this week. I have been wrestling with the prayer in Nehemiah 9: 6-37. The thing I cannot seem to shake is how different my prayers are compared to this prayer. Our teacher mentioned the chapter 9 prayers - Nehemiah 9, Ezra 9 and Daniel 9. These prayers do not really ask God for anything. They are prayers reminding God of who He is and what He has done (as if he needs to be reminded). Actually they are reminding the people who are praying them who their God really is and what He is capable of doing. I think I sometimes I lose sight of this. God is God, He will do what He wills to do. I think I need to stop treating God like a politician. If I ask Him enough or get enough people to side with me in what we want (healing, find a job, fix my finances, etc) I can get Him to change His mind.

Numbers 23:19 "God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?"

God has known since eternity past how many beats our heart will make before it stops. He has known since eternity past what hardships we will face. If my well being depends on my faith our your faith I am in a world of trouble! But thank God it is not, my life is in His hands, He knows everything about me and He does not change, I cannot catch Him off-guard, I cannot pray hard enough to make Him change His mind.

As I reread these prayers I do not see any physical requests. They do not ask for healing, they do not ask for bountiful crops, they do not ask for anything I ask for when I approach His throne. I have mentioned the prayers of Paul in the past and he very rarely prayed for physical things. The one time he did ask for physical healing God said No

II Corinthians 12; "7To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Paul did not ask for people to be healed, he did not ask for his coworkers to avoid hardships and persecution, trials or suffering. He did ask for an increase in wisdom and understanding in so that they could know God better - Ephesians 1. He did ask that their love many abound more and more in knowledge and insight - Philippians 1. He did ask that God would fill them with the knowledge of His will - Colossians 1.

In lieu of this I am trying to change my prayers. Instead of praying to get my way, I am trying to pray and ask God to show me how He is glorified in all the stuff that is happening around me. How is He glorified in someone losing a job, how is He glorified in someone losing a loved one.

II Corinthians 4: 7-9 " 7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."

I challenge you to consider your prayer life. Are you trying to get God to see things your way or are you trying to see things His way?

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