Our PERSPECTIVE of life and all the anxious moments that come our way either drive us in the direction of fear and despair or they move us toward depending on something or someone beyond ourselves.
Life has a barrel full of challenging issues for each one of us. It seems as though those issues are bigger and heavier than ever before. That may or may not actually be true, but since today’s issues are the most pressing on us, they seem most important and even overwhelming. There are a variety of coping mechanisms that we can exercise. Those strategies include combating the problem with diligent and extraordinary effort, blaming others for what clearly seems to be their fault, getting stuck in the pit of worry and anxiety, or even just doing nothing and waiting for the problem to “blow over”. Each of those strategies are well practiced and produce unpredictable, yet often unsatisfactory, results… especially when they are exercised without a settled and grounded mindset of prayer.
So prayer is a key ingredient for dealing with life. Stopping (or at least slowing down) the carousel of our lives for a few minutes and focusing our attention on God might be a critically important way of gaining a new perspective on what is happening in us and around us. You see, at its core, prayer is a petition, defined as ‘an earnest request’. Prayer allows us to expose and express our deepest desires and needs. Prayer allows us to be honest and open with what is on our hearts. But prayer is not simply us talking, but it includes us listening to the voice of the one to whom we pray. Our prayers are only as meaningful as the competency of the one who receives that prayer. In the case of Biblical Christianity, we find a God who is profoundly compassionate as well as being completely competent. So when we pray, we are relying on Him to live out His character in response to our prayers. If He is trustworthy, then we can trust Him to do exactly what is needed in the absolutely best timing possible.
Now let’s admit it, His timing usually seems off to us. Let’s also admit that in the short run the substance of the way He answers our prayers often falls short of our expectations. We usually think that we know what He should do and when He should do it. Therefore, when He does answer our prayers we often miss it because it doesn’t look like what we expected it to look like and when we expected to happen. Many times we can only see more clearly in retrospect from a significant amount of time.
However, the more we come to know God and His character the more we can live in peace, both in the short run and in the long run. His nature never changes. His timing is never off. His steadfast love endures forever. Therefore, our prayers can be honest but they never have to be ‘begging’, He hears us and He sees us… and He care deeply for us.
In the next several weeks, we are going to take a look at this thing called prayer to see what God might have for us to understand and apply.
See you Sunday,