This week, I want to address the basic idea that prayer is not convincing God. I was thinking about this as I drove to work this morning. It hadn’t been an easy morning because someone who is 6 years old and shall remain nameless didn’t get enough sleep. In the midst of the tears and problems, I was asked if we could get another dog, but this time a little lap dog that wouldn’t get big.
“No,” I said, “we already have a wonderful dog”.
Then I was asked if we could get a whole family of hamsters since we couldn’t get another dog.
“No,” I said, “we already have a pet”. All of this asking made me realize how much I use prayer as a way to ask for things…
Now, understanding completely the nature of prayer is beyond us. A whole series of mind-boggling questions arise as I think about it. But let’s say what it’s not. Prayer is not the art of convincing God. It is not “deity manipulation”. John Calvin summarized it like this:
“God’s command and promise is our motive for prayer.”
So in other words, prayer is part of our obedience. We might not like that, but when we submit to God we find a way to defeat our childish pride. It’s a life-long process and one that hurts. It’s as if God is the artist with the hammer and chisel and I am the block of stone he is working on. Chip. Ouch. Chip. OUCH! It hurts. But He is hammering at our will to chisel us into the shape that He has planned for us. The image of His son.
This week, let me encourage you to spend time in prayer…but not asking for things.
Spend time adoring God for who He is.Spend time confessing your sins.Spend time thanking him for His blessings.Spend time just listening for His still, small voice.Spend time praying…not convincing…just praying…