Faithlife Sermons

Hey Linda

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Suppose that prayer's primary purpose was to discover the heart and nature of God? Suppose that all God wants from prayer is the opportunity to speak to us. If he longs for relationship with his children then that relationship would be facilitated by

·         two-way conversation

·         experiencing his involvement in our everyday lives

·         sharing good times and bad times

·         confiding in Him - sharing our deepest longings and concerns that we could share with no one else

·         mutual unconditional love

·         awareness of his constant presence and continually speaking with Him throughout our days

·         trusting Him by acting on His promptings

·         becoming consumed with a desire to know Him above all else. Philippians 3:7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. [8] What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ [9] and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. [10] I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, [11] and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Therefore our praying could be transformed into a vehicle by which we develop personal intimacy with God. When we pray for folks like Pastor Jim, and our prayers are not answered according to our own will, we learn something about the character and nature and heart of God - we don't learn that God didn't hear our pleas or that He didn't answer. We learn that He has to be able to say "No" if He is God. Did you ever have a relationship with a person that was so fragile that you never felt that you could say "no"? I have. There were and are certain people whose requests we always feel that we have to honor because they don't understand "no". Those relationships have been exhausting to me in the past. There are others though who have given me the freedom to deny their requests - actually that freedom makes me want to be with them more and to honor their wishes. These are the sorts of people that I do not feel obligated to "pastor" - people who nourish my own heart as well. They are a joy to be with.

I guess that "having requests answered" seems to be such a small part of prayer to me. On the other hand, as my own relationship with God has deepened through prayer, I have found a greater tendency to believe for miracles - that's simply God unleashed in my own life - God doing the "God-thing". That excites me so much and I feel that He is poised to do that at 1st. I want to see Him come in His "weighty" presence.

The other thing that I have realized is that I am not responsible to defend God for the reasons that He does not perform according to our will. (i.e. - I used to hesitate to pray for terminally ill people for fear that their death would make Him look bad so I would "tag" my prayers with the qualifier, "If it's your will Lord." The I realized that God simply asks us to pray with the insight that we have and to tell Him what we want to see not what we think He wants to hear us say. Relationships are built on honesty so we have to be able to represent ourselves before Him, our wishes, our wants even. Somehow the freedom to do that enhances spiritual intimacy. We should not feel that it is wrong to ask for things that may not be of the highest order. I want my own children to feel free to ask me for anything, some things I will give them, some things we'll work on together, sometimes I will say "no" but always with a rationale (they don't always understand that rationale - they won't until they have children of their own) but simply because of my openness to their wants and the confidence that I want to love them by granting them, they see me wrestling to find their good and they grow to love me further. They don't always express pleasure in the process but the relationship deepens with the freedom to say "no".

People who say that they don't believe in God are rarely atheists. They are very much aware that he exists but they are trying to convince themselves of the contrary. A true atheist simply ignores God the same way that I ignore the Easter bunny or leprechauns. I don't have to tell people that I don't believe in either of them because I simply believe that any normal adult can see the same truth. A true atheist just doesn't bother.

Someone who is mad at God fusses about Him and they talk about not believing in Him. Someone who is disappointed in Him or rebelling against His will for their lives says these kinds of things. If we try to explain why God exists we are not really "medicating" them properly. If we love them and pray for them and labor with them in their spiritual tantrums then we shorten the road home. You can't argue with love - it always finds a way. Perhaps these sorts of struggles are God's quality control strategy in our lives. They show us where faith breaks down in our lives and that's good because faith untested would take us deceived to stand before God. By then it's too late to discover that we have been mistaken.

Anyway - that's enough for now. You know what I think? I think that your desire for an answer re: Jim is the motivation that God has given you to drive you to pray. The way that He will answer your question is by a revelation of himself that you would never have found if you weren't a seeker. So don't see that as an obstacle that keeps you from "becoming" a prayer warrior accept it as the chief motivation.

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