In case you didn’t go to ReThinkCreative.org last week, which you should do today, here’s my guest post on prayer.
This weekend I got to see my sister-in-law in her first full marathon. It was exhausting. I had to take a nap afterwards.
All over the town it was in were signs saying, “Pray for rain”. An earnest request from a drought-suffering part of the country.
I started thinking, as I do, and I realized how my response to those signs highlighted GOD’s work in my prayer life.
Our congregation is having to pray for a new space to meet on Sunday mornings. We are all committing to stop every night at ten o’clock and pray together; pray that GOD would show us where to go.
My husband voiced discomfort with the small prayer of, “GOD help us find a building.” He aptly noted that a prayer like that is just asking GOD to bless a plan. He went on to suggest that if GOD’s answer wasn’t a building what were new believers to accept except that GOD simply didn’t answer their prayers? Even those not new to faith could become disheartened and what if, he speculated dangerously, it was in GOD’s Will to decrease our congregation? What then?
Instead, he challenged us both to spend our ten o’clocks praying for a proper reception of His Will. Asking instead what GOD desires in this time of decisions, instead of asking for what we think He wants.
It really hit me today. I realized, GOD DOESN’T NEED RAIN.
He can make crops grow without it.
He can sustain humans without food and water.
He doesn’t need rain to fufill His promises to provide for us.
Our congregation doesn’t need a building. It would be nice. But ultimately, if it is outside GOD’s Will, we’re missing out on something even better.
When I teach acting I start character work with the simple question of, “What does your character want?”
Wanting creates urgency and urgency believability.
Every character wants something, something simple and direct and if they don’t get it, they die. A tragedy is just a play wherein the leading character doesn’t realize his or her objective. Even if they don’t die outright, you know as a spectator their life will never be what it could have been; Romeo and Juliet, Forest Gump, Hamlet, Jack and Rose, King Kong. Knowing that loss is what leaves you with a feeling of sadness and sympathy.
Without GOD’s Will our lives cannot be truly lived. Everything that makes life worth living is packaged up in the free gift of salvation. We can, even after death, live out GOD’s unique purposes for our life.
The greatest tragedy then in our lives, has nothing to do with not getting what we want, but rather, not getting what GOD wants for us.
Inside GOD’s Will even the lost battles and lost loves make sense, not right away, but they can and will. So, how can we ignore in our prayers the perfection of GOD’s design?
GOD can give sense to the senseless, meaning to the meaningless, and order to the chaos.
Not many people know, but I came to faith because a boy I knew died of leukemia. I began seeking GOD’s healing for my heart when my mother had a nervous breakdown. I understood for the first time GOD’s infinite desire to see justice because my friends were killed a home invasion. I learned to surrender everything to GOD after suffering heartbreak after heartbreak. The beginnings of those stories, of MY story, should not have ended those ways.
My desires hardly ever line up with GOD’s. I protested this blog for a good long while. But, I know from experience that GOD’s desires for my life are always better than what I wanted and when I know them, I am instantly aware that whatever it is is what my heart really wanted all along.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV