Wishes and Prayers
One of the struggles I have with prayer is not that I don’t think it is important. I do. I know I need to keep praying, even when I don’t feel like it. I need to talk to God, telling Him my needs and thanking Him for His answers. It is not that I am too busy because I can spend all kinds of time talking to friends on the phone, playing and watching too much TV. I can find all kinds of time to serve God, to help others and to attend bible studies and church services.
Instead, I think it is so hard because I am too results-oriented. I like feedback and the sooner the better. I want God to “fix” my situation and to give me instant updates without making me wait! Prayer is supposed to be about an encounter with God Almighty and building a relationship with a loving heavenly Father. I have made it all about rubbing the magic lamp and getting God to answer my wishes. Worse, I have made it all be about myself; when it is convenient for me thus “forcing” God to meet with me simply because I have chosen this moment to talk with Him.
So it would seem that I choose not to talk to God with any kind of regularity because I am not “hearing” Him (aka He is not doing what I want and when I want it). It is crazy to even write this down! Yet it really is the reason.
So how do I reverse that?
(For starters I can stop praying for things on my wish list and try not to even keep such a list:
ie… I wish I had a job that paid the bills// I wish I could have my career back or at least feel I am participating in Kingdom work by using my gifts and talents//I wish I didn’t have to live so far away from “my world.” I have lost my kids because I had to move so far away aka I wish God would let me live where I want//I wish I could travel more.//I wish … Etc…)
There is such a “long” gap between planting and harvesting. While we are okay with that in the farming world, we do not like it in everyday life. This morning I held a peach seed after slicing my peach on my oven pancake and considered the promise of more within. And how everything takes time. We live in a culture that has made it all about not waiting for, not wanting and not doing without – anything! Not kingdom values at all and yet, How do I even begin to rail against it all? Perhaps just acknowledging the issue is a good starting place!
Being instant has more downsides than we like to admit. It is hard to live in the “now and not yet”. Kent Hughes once talked about this time frame. Living in the “not yet” of the kingdom is the period of time before Christ’s return and the inauguration of the ultimate Kingdom. The reason this is difficult is because we also live in the “now” of the Kingdom, which creates relentless tension because we are called to live out Kingdom values and ethics while we wait for the King. (Titus 2;11-13)
We are different when we become a Christ follower and we are to Pray without giving up….we are to learn to live in the “now”.
The parable Jesus told about the widow and unjust judge comes back into mind whenever I think about this aspect of prayer. By contrast we have a loving God who helps us to live in the now as we wait for the not yet!