1 Chronicles 5:20 He answered their prayers, because they trusted in him.
Too often, people pray as a last option. We tend to pray when nothing else works out! When I started reading this morning I wondered why I had chosen this section in this series on prayer, but then I got to this sentence, and it became clear. The Japanese expresses it as, “They depended on Him, so God listened to their request.” We are so prone to pray with no real faith involved. Even when we pray first as a matter of form, we draw up all sorts of contingency plans in case He doesn’t come through. That’s not to say that we are to presume on Him, thinking that He is in some way obligated to fulfill our wish list, but it is to say that He should be our rock, our foundation, and we should not depend on our own abilities or, for that matter, anything human. Prayer is not to be an excuse for inaction. If you pray for something, you need to offer yourself to God as a tool for the fulfillment of that prayer. However, we must not get the cart before the horse, as the old saying goes, drawing up our own plans and then tacking on a prayer for God to bless them. That’s not depending on God, whatever we say!
I’ve been guilty of all I’ve just described more times that I like to remember. When God’s lessons are so consistent, it’s amazing that I’m so slow to learn them! Thankfully, He’s much more patient with me than I would be if the roles were reversed. I’ve learned that prayer ahead of time is by far the best course, and that I’m to be both humble and trusting as I pray. Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane is an excellent example. His flesh protested with every cell of His body against what He faced, but He still prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) I too need to pray in both trust and submission. Whether I face a physical challenge, an emotional challenge, or a spiritual challenge, I need to remember that God is more than up to that challenge, and whether I am or not is beside the point. After all, His grace is all I need. (2 Corinthians 12:9) I need to have absolute confidence that He is more than able to deal with anything I face, and so commit myself to Him.
Father, thank You for this clear reminder. The sudden death of our neighbor’s wife really brings this home. Thank You that she won’t have to go into a nursing home while her husband enters the hospital for cancer surgery, which is something she had been adamant against. This actually simplifies things greatly for the whole family. I do pray for the husband and their sons, because grief is real regardless of the circumstances. I particularly pray that, once the ceremonies are over and the husband does enter the hospital, that he will read my father’s biography that I just gave him and be moved to cry out to Christ himself, for his salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!