Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 252 The Value of Prayer

Dear friends,

When I was a child, I prayed for things to happen, or to get things, or for things not to happen. Sometimes my prayers were answered, sometimes they were not. It's the same as an adult, only perhaps I've gained a teaspoon of maturity to see that prayer is more than little me asking big He for something I want. That is where prayer begins, and it's a fine place to begin. It's honest. But to grow up from there, perhaps just a little bit at a time, is critical. Lest we become disillusioned. Lest we miss the joy of relationship with the One and Only.

When I learned my husband and daughter were on their way to Albany Med in a helicopter and an ambulance, I got to my knees in a hurry. So did many others, including a host of you reading this blog right now. I asked, strongly and with passion, that they would come through those hospital doors with minor injuries. That request was denied. I asked that they would survive, and see the "goodness of the Lord in the land of the living". That request was granted. I don't know why. But I was reading a passage by C.S. Lewis today that is new to me, and one particular part stuck me as so very insightful:

"...And if an infinitely wise Being listens to the requests of finite and foolish creatures, of course He will sometimes grant and sometimes refuse them. Invariable "success" in prayer would not prove the Christian doctrine at all. It would prove something much more like magic - a power in certain human beings to control, or compel, the course of nature.

There are, no doubt, passages in the New Testament which seem at first sight to to promise an invariable answering of our prayers. But that cannot be what they really mean. For in the very heart of the story we meet a glaring instance to the contrary. In Gethsemane the holiest of all petitioners prayed three times that a certain cup might pass from Him. It did not. After that the idea that prayer is recommended to us as a sort of infallible gimmick may be dismissed."

That's the thing, friends. The Great One really does see the big picture, and His answers to prayer are always, always with a motive of our greatest good. It's not an overused cliche. It's the reality of the relationship of an "infinitely wise Being" to the likes of us. He loves us like crazy, and just like the parent who knows why 4 ice creams and a third trip around the merry go round are out for the 4 year old, the child may have a tantrum at the "injustice" of it all. But the kind parent picks the child up in her exhaustion and foolishness, tells her it's ok, and rocks her gently to sleep. Prayer is the child with her head on the father's shoulder, trusting Him when she doesn't get her way. That's relationship. That's what prayer is really about. And how I long to understand this great truth! I love it when God answers in the way I was hoping. I'm learning to relax when He doesn't. Because He's a much better boss of the Universe than I am.

Keep praying! He wants to hear, and will answer in the way that is truly best for our freedom and deliverance. We get stronger, wiser, and closer to our Father when we spend time talking with Him. Through every tangle we seek to untie.

Your friend on the pilgrim road,



Anonymous said...

I do love your post today! I know more than one person who could do so well from hearing the eloquent way that you have stated the truth here. I value the way you package a message with your words! Thank you for still sharing and sticking out this whole year!
Lots of love!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I have had several prayers in the last month that seem to have been ignored. It hurts saying that but in the deep of my heart or in my head knowledge (I guess depending on where the emotions are)I know God is still there and I only wish I could see the big picture or learn more quickly from the evidence. Gos is love and on that I will rest and believe.
Denise P.

Mary Louise said...

That CS Lewis quote is new to me. He makes the point of God's wisdom over ours so well! Oh, how I long to know God more so that I can trust Him completely when things don't make sense.