What a week. Thank you all for your kind words, love, and support. It’s a bit hard to know how to go back to normal blogging after a life-changing announcement.
But…that’s exactly what we’re going to do! Obviously, there’s more to say about the whole leaving camp thing, but I feel like I need a bit of a break! We’ll talk some more later. 🙂
In the meantime, here’s a little something I cooked up about my thoughts on prayer…
Prayer is something I have struggled with a lot.
I mean, on the one hand, it’s not hard to just talk with God. I don’t believe it needs to be anything complicated, and I completely believe that God is always listening, and cares about everything I say. I believe He has ways to speak back, even if I can’t hear an audible voice.
The stuff I struggle with is how to accept His answers, or how to wait on Him and trust Him in everything. I struggle with boldly asking for miracles, while still wanting to pray within His will.
Sometimes He just says no. Will my faith be big enough to handle His no? Do I trust Him enough to let go, and surrender, and rejoice even when He says no?
And how much does prayer change things? I’ve always had a problem with that woman in the Bible who asked and asked and asked, until in frustration, the judge finally relented.
I don’t like the idea of nagging God. And yet Jesus is the one who told that story!
And what happens when I go out on a very uncomfortable limb, and try praying with the “ask and ask and ask” technique, and…nothing happens? Is that a “wait”? Is that a “no”? Did I not nag hard enough?
Or is that the part where I surrender and trust Him with my life, even when things don’t make any sense?
So maybe my biggest struggle is: When do you persist, and when do you surrender?
For years, I just stopped asking for anything. I stopped praying boldly and stopped waiting for miracles, because I couldn’t handle getting a “no”.
And then Beth Moore got me in the soft spot, while I was taking her “Believing God” Bible study online. I sat there one night with tears streaming down my cheeks as I realized what had happened to me and my faith and my prayer life. It had become as safe and boring as it possibly could, and there was no room for God to do anything, anywhere.
I had Him in a nice, safe little box.
But after that night, I started to let go of the control. I started (fearfully) asking Him for big things. I gave Him room to be unpredictable.
And most importantly, I realized that I trusted Him enough to get a no. My faith will not fall apart if I don’t get my own way. His ways are much better, anyway.
But sometimes, I still start to wonder how much my prayers help, and how much they change. Oswald Chambers has written that the purpose of prayer is to change us, more than it is to change God. I am on board with that. I need a lot of changing. God, on the other hand…not so much.
I just finished up Andy Stanley’s book, Enemies of the Heart, which was fantastic, and I loved what he had to say about prayer:
The fact is, God loves you too much to give you everything you ask for. He loves the people around you too much to give you everything you ask for. But – and don’t miss this – he still wants you to ask. He still wants you to bring it all to him.
Why? If there’s no guarantee, what’s the point?
God wants you to know him as the source of all good things. And when he says no, he wants you to trust him….He’s the source of all good things, not all wished-for things. But he still wants us to ask, to lean, to depend, to cry out. (p. 169)
I love that. I want to see Him as the source. Since reading that, I’ve thought of praying more often throughout each day. Some problem, some dilemma I don’t know how to handle? Well, He’s the source. I bring it to Him because He wants me to.
Yucky emotions or thoughts that don’t even make sense to me? I know it’s time to go to the Source of all good things, because that’s what He wants me to do.
It’s as though seeing Him as the source of everything is taking away my need to understand prayer. I go to Him because He wants me to. I still don’t understand when to persist, and when to surrender, but He’s the source. He wants me to ask. I ask out of obedience. And whenever we obey God more fully, good things happen.
So, any thoughts on prayer out there? I’d love to hear them…