Sunday, 27 October 2013

Prayer: Some Random Thoughts

As I write these words, I’m looking out the window at our first snowfall of the season, and I’m not impressed. It got me thinking about the way we often petition God about some of the details of life; both the trivial details, and the more serious details, that often seem to plague us.

What do I mean? Consider these random thoughts:

Two athletes from opposing teams each pray for victory in the big game. How will God answer their prayers? A tied game? Granting the petition of the one but not the other? Someone has to win. How will God answer?

Two countries at odds with each other, perhaps stepping ever closer to the brink of war, each having Christian citizens, each claiming God is on their side, and each praying for victory over their adversaries. How will God answer?

A family at the hospital bedside of a critically ill family member; one praying for healing, and the other praying that God may take her home to Heaven and release her from her pain. How will God answer?

And then there are our fickle ideas of what constitutes perfect weather. The one prays for snow while the other prays that the snow clouds pass over without dropping their precipitation. The one prays about it being too dry, whereas his neighbor prays about it being too wet. The one prays about what he perceives as a climate too hot, while the other prays about a climate that he thinks is too cold. How will God answer?

And then there are the Scriptures that speak of the “prayers of faith,” and of how God answers those, as opposed to the faithless variety of prayer. In truth, all of the above examples could be “prayers of faith,” and if so, what then? How will God answer? Or will He?

I guess it all comes down to this: God is Sovereign and the buck ultimately stops with Him. “But, but, but … ” I can almost hear the objections now ringing through cyberspace.

“What shall we conclude then? Is there injustice upon God’s part? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion (pity) on whom I will have compassion. So then [God’s gift] is not a question of human will and human effort, but of God’s mercy. [It depends not on one’s own willingness nor on his strenuous exertion as in running a race, but on God’s having mercy on him.] For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, I have raised you up for this very purpose of displaying My power in [dealing with] you, so that My name may be proclaimed the whole world over. So then He has mercy on whomever He wills (chooses) and He hardens (makes stubborn and unyielding the heart of) whomever He wills. You will say to me, Why then does He still find fault and blame us [for sinning]? For who can resist and withstand His will? But who are you, a mere man, to criticize and contradict and answer back to God? Will what is formed say to Him that formed it, Why have you made me thus? Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same mass (lump) one vessel for beauty and distinction and honorable use, and another for menial or ignoble and dishonorable use?” (Romans 9: 14-21; Amplified) 

I guess at the end of the day, as troubling as those verses have been to some, I can rest in that. At the end of the day, dare we really “Name it and Claim it” as some of our leaders have taught? Isn’t that almost dictating the terms of our faith to God? I wonder sometimes.

At the end of the day, if God chooses to send us a snowstorm in October, or take one of my children home to Glory before his first birthday (which He has done), who am I to say otherwise? His will always prevails, regardless of my opinion on the subject, and even, dare I say, regardless of my level of faith. To Him be the glory. Amen.

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