[box] Every Saturday morning, I will be sharing a little snippet from my own personal walk with God...straight from the heart. God has work to do in me too, and sometimes it's not pretty. But my prayer is that as I am honest, He is more able to do that work in me...and at the same time, encourage you as well.[/box] This year, I have been going through
the devotional Jesus Calling by Sarah Young as part of my quiet time each morning. Yesterday, the day's reading talked about prayer, how I can entrust all the details of my life to the Lord, how He will then in turn thoroughly and specifically answer my prayers, and that He delights to do so.
As I thought about that, I realized that they seemed to run completely counter to what I believed and therefore lived. First, I don't believe that He really wants to hear my requests. Perhaps I am thinking of my poor attitude when it comes to listening to my kids. But that is more a reflection on me than it is on Him. He is not like me at all. 1 Peter 5:7 completely counters this belief. I am told to cast all my anxieties on Him because He cares for me. Unlike me, He really does care and want to hear about my worries.
Second, I don't ask because I don't trust His answers. I have somehow come to believe that while He is a good God, I don't think He will be good to me. He will be good to everyone else, of course, but that I cannot count on Him to do the same for me.
Countless Scriptures contradict that lie. Matthew 7:11 tells me "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"
Lastly, to be honest, I don't really expect much from God. Sure, He will provide for my daily bread and forgive my sins, but I cannot really expect much more. I have made him out to be a stingy God, one who gives only the bare minimum. But Ephesians 3:20 completely contradicts this too: "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
As a parent, when my children come to me with pressing problems or worries, I know that I am honored when they share those with me. I want to know what they're thinking. I want to know what they desire and wish for. And I want to do all I can to make those desires a reality.
How can God be any different? He is the perfect Father. If I, as a weak and imperfect parent, will want to listen to my kids and help them, how can He not do the same?
In response, I set out to write a prayer list, the desires of my heart. As I wrote my prayer list out, I sensed His delight and desire to see those things come to pass. And even if they do not, I know that He has a good reason. I do not give my children everything they want. But as a parent, I know that there are reasons why I say no. Sometimes it is so that my kids can learn to trust me, or to cultivate character. God, in His infinite wisdom, must have even greater reasons.
I am going to probably need to revisit this lesson over and over as I learn to trust Him in prayer. But the only way to learn to do that is by actually praying. Even though I have written countless times on prayer, what really matters is that I pray, seek, ask. Nothing else will do.
Heavenly Father, thank You for patiently teaching me, consistently inviting me, and warmly welcoming me when I come into your throne room of grace. Thank You for caring for the desires in my heart. Even though I am as a child to You, You do not tire of hearing about the worries and concerns I have. Teach me how to step out in faith to share these things with You. Help me to see the difference between my goals and my desires, and to obediently step out in faith to walk in the ways that You lay out for me while I trust You with the things that I cannot do or accomplish for myself. I trust that when I do so, I will see and know You in a way I never have before. I love You. In Jesus' name, Amen.