2006-11-08 - Umbrellas of Sunshine
Genesis 4:26, "Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord."
At least once before, and then again this week, I have read the brief illustration of the little girl who went to a special prayer meeting that was called to pray for rain during a season of drought. She brought her umbrella with her to the meeting. There is something we can learn from the innocent faith of a child. Let us seek to never lose that simple trusting faith that God hears our prayers, answers our prayers, and is pleased with our prayers.
In prayer, we express our desires. There is an involvement of our mind and soul in this. But there is more to prayer than this. In addition to our intellect and soul, prayer involves our will, passions, and often parts of the body: mouth, eyes, hands, knees.
Prayer is also often naturally focused on ourselves. There is a place for praise in prayer, and never let us forget to thank the Lord for his mercies, kindness, and answered prayers, but if we are honest, a large part of prayer for all of us shows our need, even deficiency, and our appeal to the Lord for help, guidance, and favor.
We come before the Lord in our lack. We seek the fulfillment and abundance that He can only give. Our inability to help ourselves is all too painfully obvious. We come to the Lord in prayer with our sorrows, anxieties, hopes, dreams, fears and longings. We come to the Lord humbly, understanding that we are unworthy for Him to even hear our prayers, and when He does hear and answer our prayers, it is a response of condescension from the One who has all things to one who just a short time ago came into this world naked. In saying we are unworthy, we have only scratched the surface of understanding truly just how deficient we are coming before a holy God.
Of course, we pray in the name of Christ. We pray in the power of the Holy Spirit who aids in our prayers. This makes up much of the gap. We have God as our helper when we come to God in prayer. We come before a God who is majestic, all-powerful, all-knowing, glorious, and holy, but this same God is gracious and loving usward in Christ. Somehow God is pleased with our prayers, and is glorified when humble, repentant sinners seek His favor. He is pleased as a father giving something good to his child, to not only hear our prayers, but to answer them.
Sometimes we don't get the answer we are looking for in prayer. Sometimes we may have the answer in the beneficial "No," or, "Not at this time." I wonder if Hezekiah would have wanted his prayer for longer life granted (2 Chronicles 32), if he knew that during those years Manasseh would be born to him, who would become king in his place, and persecute greatly the people of God. Would Hezekiah have wanted his prayer for longer life answered in the affirmative, if he had known how many of God's people would die from his child who was not yet born when God granted him the extra 15 years? We can't know, but I think that when we pray, we have to do so with a view to God's providence, praying in faith that the Lord knows what truly is best, and to seek to pray in the same manner with Christ praying, "Yet, not as I will, but as Thou wilt." (Matthew 26:39)
Soli Deo Gloria,