Saturday, May 28, 2011

On Prayer

I will try to keep this one short... you know, because I don't have any pictures.

I would say that I've been learning a lot about prayer lately, but I don't necessarily see that as true. What I can say is that I have been learning a lot through prayer lately. When I pray, I do my best to pray fervently. I do my best to pray huge prayers. I do my best to pray for things that I cannot make happen on my own. I pray this way because then, when I am praying, I am glorifying God. I'm saying, "Lord, I lay before you these huge issues. I'm petitioning for these mighty requests to come to pass because I know there is absolutely nothing I can do about it and I know that you have the power to make audacious prayers come to fruition." So that's the starting point.

Lately I've been taking time to pray that God would not take from me the trials that I'm going through. For most of my life when I came upon trials, when I came upon struggles, when I came upon hard times (which, by the grace of God, have not been comparable to the hard times that others have faced) I've had a tendency to say, "Lord, take this from me. Remove these feelings of anger, of fear, or guilty, of whatever so that I might not have to endure the pain that comes with them." Strictly a selfish prayer. Recently those prayers have changed significantly. Where is growth if God just takes away the problems we endure? How are we challenged if he just takes from us the things which will strengthen us? Lately my prayers have been more along the lines of me saying, "Father, give me strength to endure this time. Keep my eyes set on the hope that is you. Remind me that through this is growth and through growth is a better understanding of you." Instead of praying for the easy way out, I've been praying that I would be challenged so that I might grow. I've been praying that I would not see answers to these prayers until I have learned everything that I can in this time of waiting. So that's good.

To be more specific. Lately the answers I've been seeking to my prayers have been very "yes" or "no" answers. And you better believe that I haven't been getting a firm yes or no. I've been getting what I call the in-between answer. There's an answer. It could be a yes, it could be a no, but I just don't know what it is yet. It hasn't been revealed to me... and I hate that.

I get frustrated often in these situations because I feel helpless; I feel stuck. It's so much easier to have a "yes" that says, "go for it" or a "no" that says, "it's not happening." This "in-between/unrevealed" answer doesn't work like that. So, lately my prayer has been that God would teach me the purpose of this place. My prayer has been that I would come to understand why I don't have a "yes" or "no." When you pray prayers like that God is going to put you in situations that will make you understand. Pray for patience; you'll be put in situations that try your patience. Pray for humility and you will be put in situations in which you are humbled. Pray for understanding when it comes to prayers that don't have a definite yes or no yet?You'll be put in situations that haven't revealed the definite yes or no answer. That's where I am.

It seems kind of crazy that Christians would ask to be put in situations that are hard, in situations that are difficult, in situations that are stretching. As humans, I feel like we want to get through life and make it as easy as possible. Not me. I don't want an easy life. I want a life in which I understand Jesus better today than I did yesterday, and that's not going to happen by living an easy life. It's going to require that I am stretched. It is going to require that I am challenged. It is going to require that I go through tough things so that I might better understand the character of God.

So, I sit here in this weird in-between phase knowing that God does have answers. Knowing that he does have my best in mind. Knowing that my hope is in Him and he knows what he's doing. I don't have a yes or no answer to everything, but it's because of faith that I know there is an answer.

"But certainly God has heard me;
He has attended to the voice of my prayer.

Blessed be God,
Who has not turned away my prayer,
Nor his mercy from me!"
-Psalm 66:19-20

No comments: