Believing Prayer; March 22, 2022

Psalm 62:5-6 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

A major part of what made David pleasing to God was that he depended fully on Him. We have a bad tendency to think we can accomplish things in our own strength alone, when nothing could be further from the truth. Every ability and resource we have comes from Him, whatever route it might take to get to us. There is again a difference between the NIV and the Japanese that I find interesting. Where the NIV says, “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone,” the Japanese says, “My soul is quiet, and simply waits in expectation for God.” And the “quiet” is specifically, not talking. We have a tendency to rattle at God, demanding things of Him in one way or another, rather than trusting that He is more aware of our situation than we are, and that He genuinely loves us. That’s what David expresses specifically in the last two verses of this Psalm. Prayer is a marvelous privilege, but at the same time it is a mystery. Jesus said explicitly that God knows what we need before we ask Him, (Matthew 6:8) but He also told us to ask, seek, and knock. (Matthew 7:7-8) That said, there are times when we just need to shut up and wait for God. Jesus told us about the Father already knowing our needs in the same breath as saying not to be like pagans who think they will be heard for their many words. Jesus Himself famously prayed three times in the Garden of Gethsemane to be delivered from the cross, but it was with the qualifier, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39) We are to pray, not only for ourselves but also on behalf of others and indeed, for the whole world, as the Lord’s Prayer indicates, but at the same time we are not to try to dictate to God, but rather trust that He is both strong and loving, as David recognized.

I have shared about it many times, but I will never forget the first time I ever heard God speak to me in what seemed like an audible voice, even though I doubt that it could have been mechanically recorded. I was earnestly praying for God to speak to me, to guide me about a particular situation, both in English and in tongues, and when I paused for breath, He very clearly said, “Well then, shut up.” I was totally shocked, but then I had to laugh at myself. How could I hear Him when I was so busy talking? That’s why I like the Japanese for this passage: if I trust God to answer, I’m going to shut up and listen! My prayer life has grown a lot over the years, and it still has plenty of room to grow and deepen, but I’m thankful for how far the Lord has brought me. He has given my wife a ministry of teaching others to pray, and is in the process of fleshing that out. I’ve not been very good at teaching others to pray, even though prayer has always been as natural to me as breathing, so I’m not sure how to help her in this. I need to be both quiet and available, translating/interpreting as called for and supporting in every way possible. God’s people learning to pray is a vital need, and I believe God is going to use Cathy’s ministry mightily for His glory.

Father, thank You for all that You are doing. I continue to be blessed and encouraged Sunday by Sunday as I see the spiritual growth in the congregation. It’s certainly not something I can do on my own, even for myself, much less for others. Help me be fully available for however You want to use me, not insisting on how that is to be, but trusting You both for the plan and for the power to bring it to pass, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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