Friday, October 25, 2013

prayer

Prayer~such a gift to us from God the Father.  I am so thankful that I am able to speak to my Heavenly Father at any time of day, however often I want, and any where I want.  We talked about prayer yesterday in our Bible study, as we were introduced to the book of Ephesians.

How in the world are we supposed to pray?  I've always just kinda laid my heart out before God....He knows the contents of my heart anyway, so why not just lay it all out?

Are we supposed to pray for things we want?  Or things we need?  (I would say yes to the "things we need" for sure, whether it be a financial miracle, or a physical miracle, or the salvation of a loved one.  Although I have to confess, I have prayed for things I want as well.  Remember last year when I prayed for God to provide a way for us to go see the Fab 5 gymnasts from the summer Olympics at the Fed Ex Forum?  And then He provided a way for that to happen?  My thinking on that is that sometimes He does want us to pray for things like that, because when He provides an answer or a way, it points to Him.  I could be wrong, though, but doesn't that make sense?)

How about this, though~what if, when we share our need with others, we ask them to pray for something specifically?  Are we supposed to tell people what to pray for?  Down to the very last detail??  I have friends that do this~they tell me exactly what to pray, and I confess to you that it irritates me.  I don't pray exactly what they want, because that might not be what God wants.  I pray that His will be done in their lives and in the needs they have.  And last year when I prayed for that "frivolous thing" (The Fab 5), even in that, I ultimately prayed His will...even if that meant no tickets.  I did give Him praise when He provided a way for us to go, though, and I shared that story with so many people.  Because it wasn't us that made that happen~it was all God!

I don't know the answers.  I wish I did.

Someone said in Bible study yesterday that we are supposed to pray with a totally surrendered heart to God, and that we are supposed to pray His will (I already knew that last part).  She suggested that maybe we won't understand what a totally surrendered heart is until we have released a child into the world.  I don't really know if that's true or not, but it kinda makes sense.  Think about it: when you know that you have raised your child to walk with God, you have done all you can do and they leave home after graduation, what do you do?  You let them go.  You commit them (maybe for the millionth time) to God.

Because as much as you love that child. how much more does God love him/her?

Unfathomable.

What does praying His will mean?  I've always thought that it meant praying not for an answer that I want, but the answer or solution that He wants~even if it means me suffering a little bit in order to point others to Him.

I'll use myself as an example again: last week when I was going through all my medical junk, I did NOT want to be going through that!  I prayed and prayed for that not to happen, for the Lord to heal me, but all my mess happened anyway.  But guess what?  In the middle of my turmoil, He provided me with a wonderful story of why He allowed me to go through what I did~what I still am going through.  He showed me that when I have nothing to cling to but Him and His word, that those two alone will carry me through.  He showed me how to pray for other people around me as I sat in The Jones Clinic.  He showed me that the testing of my faith develops perseverance...and that perseverance must finish its work so that I may be mature and complete, not lacking anything!  (James 1:2~4)

But then someone else said that even Jesus prayed (on the cross) that if possible, this cup be taken from Him.  (Luke 22:42)

So here's what I'm thinking: I'm thinking that I'm going to stop praying the way I usually do...I think I'm going to start focusing more on thanking and praising God, and reading His word during prayer, and then listening.
Listening.

Do you know how hard that is?  How often have you sat and listened to the silence?  I'll be honest and say that I often skip that part.  I thank God for all His many gifts to us, I praise Him for Who He is (friend, love, almighty, faithful and just, etc.) and then sometimes I sing a song of worship, but the listening part?  I skip it most of the time.

Do you?  Truthfully?  If you don't, then how do you sit and listen?  I ask because I would like some tips.

Do you have some method you use?  I've done the SOAP method before~Scripture, observe, apply, pray.

But that doesn't really touch on the listening part.  How do we listen for God?  How do we know when it's Him?  Is it a thought that might jump into my brain?  A verse He might recall to my memory?  A nudge?

I'm just curious.  I was thinking about this more when I woke up and had my quiet time.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts.  Love to all.


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