My friend, may I ask you a question? Is prayer about ideas that we have for God to help us out? Or, is prayer about giving thanks and allowing yourself to fall into the arms of the Almighty who already knows what we need and when?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.
When I was a little boy, I remember praying this prayer, “Dear Father whom I cannot see; smile down from heaven on little me. Let angels through the darkness spread, their holy wings above my bed. And keep me safe because I am, the Heavenly Shepherd’s little lamb. Amen.” I must have prayed this prayer a thousand times. It’s sing-song harmony still echoes in my mind after decades. At times when my mind wanders a bit into memory lane at prayer time, this old prayer just bursts forth and I am several lines in until I discover myself praying as a six-year-old instead of a 66-year-old. With the passing of many years and the addition of adult needs, my prayers have certainly changed. Now they are not so much recitations as they are well thought-out petitions. Many of my prayers are preplanned as if God cares whether or not I read the directions prior to putting the prayer together. Yet, despite this maturity of thought, there’s something that my adult prayers do share in common with those of my boyhood. My prayers most often won’t be answered exactly in the way that I have planned. Why? The fact is that most times I lack the wisdom to know what to pray for. I haven’t grasped the scope or gravity of the situation, so some pertinent and essential aspects of what my life requires are at best a fog and most likely completely unknown.
Often, we tend to give God our prayer ideas rather than stopping to take the time to give ourselves INTO prayer through him. Prayer isn’t about ideas. Prayer is about giving thanks, praising, and allowing yourself to fall into the arms of the Almighty.
Here’s a story: During the American Civil War over 600,000 soldiers died, but a heartfelt prayer that survived was this prayer of an unknown Confederate soldier. “I asked God for strength, that I might achieve; I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for health, that I might do greater things; I was given infirmity that I might do better things. I asked for riches, that I might be happy; I was given poverty that I might be wise. I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men; I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God. I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life; I was given life, that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for; almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am among all men, most richly blessed. (Victor Yap, Sermoncentral.com)
Thank goodness that God is more discerning that we are; that he does not answer our prayers with what we believe we might need, but what we actually do need. As we grow in wisdom and spirit, perhaps a good petition to add to our daily prayers would be this: “Father, teach us to be discerning in our prayers that “your understanding might be ours as well.” As with that soldier’s prayer, truly what is unspoken or even imagined is often what we need the most. Only God knows, and it is our job through prayer to trust that his wisdom will always lead to our provision.
We pray. Heavenly Father, we often feel that our prayers must be a laundry list of needs and wants in order to cover all the bases. We pray as if omitting one thing might lead to not receiving it at all. May we be reminded daily that prayer is really about the giver and not the receiver. Forgive us when we lose perspective on who we are praying to and why that prayer is asked of us. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.
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God bless you for Jesus sake.