Friday, October 19, 2012

why pray?

When you ask [God], you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives,
that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:3

On Tuesday mornings, I head to church and study the book of James with about 25 other women. I love it! Oh, boy, James offers so much wisdom and challenge.

So yesterday I posted James 4:3 on facebook and found myself in a discussion. Someone in our Tuesday study asked, based on this passage, why doesn't God say 'yes' to requests that we believe are heart-felt. She was honestly asking for an explanation. So I plunged in. In the end, I ended up examining myself. Here's what I said:

I will try, Erika. But only God can answer rightly! Though we might be heart-felt in our prayers and requests, ultimately it's God's call on how He answers. Being human, my mind is finite and my understanding limited. Just like our kids who ask us for things they think are best for them, as parents we usually know (big picture) what's best and what's not. That might lead us to think, why pray at all, if God has made up His mind? I still struggle with that. But I do think prayer links our hearts to God and helps us, in our weakness, to rely on Him more fully by strengthening our relationship with Him.

Thirty-four years ago, I prayed for my mother to survive cancer. My prayers weren't answered. You can believe there was some fist-shaking at God. How could my heart have been more pure, wanting my mother to live? Now, I think I see a part of God's purpose in it. Ultimately, I submitted to and trusted Him more. God became my go-to guy in raising children because I didn't have the person I would have turned to. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith: "sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." I think too often, we are faithful only in what we can see. An oxymoron, ya know?
"...he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:7-8

Oh, I want to be faithful. I used to think it was a weakness, to have faith. Now I think it takes strength of will and perseverance, trusting God in all things, with all situations, at all times .... knowing He sees the big picture of our lives. I can be sure of what I hope for, certain of what I cannot see.

1 comment:

Bonnie Hudson said...

Good answer, Barb. Well done.