Monday, September 17, 2012

Stopping the Sun (public domain image)

Here’s a question I had written in the margin of my bible in Joshua 10:

Does what I pray for acknowledge the unlimited power and authority of God?

This was written next to the story when Joshua asked God to stop the sun from moving across the sky.  It could also be written beside a prayer to raise someone from the dead.  Or to bring a victory when you are feeling defeated.

I don’t think anyone would ever say of me, “She is always believing God for miraculous things.”  

Honestly, I’ve been on a journey to become a pray-er because I’ve struggled so much – not with God’s ability but with what His will is.  My questions have usually gone something like:  How can I pray with faith believing when I don’t know what Your will is in this situation?  I trust You to do what’s best but should I just pray ‘Your will be done’ and not believe You for anything specific?  How can I ask confidently when I don’t know if it’s what You know best to do?

I think one of the enemy’s most effective schemes is to keep us from going to God with our big questions, doubts and struggles.   We can tell Him honestly everything we’re confused about, hurt over or don’t understand – even when we feel like we should be much more ‘spiritual’ than that.  I finally got wise to this and started asking God to help me in my prayer life.  Instead of not praying (scores 1 for the devil) I am praying about prayer.

The first way He’s answered is to encourage me to pray anyway.   I need to pray and ask, according to His word – I don’t have to understand how He answers to obey in this.  He keeps reassuring me that I won’t ever fully understand His ways while I’m on earth.  He is God.  I am not.  His purposes are bigger than my mind can comprehend.  Just pray.  Don’t stop asking.

The next thing He has been showing me is to pray for His glory in however He answers.  So I can say:  Do this thing I am asking in a way that brings You the most attention, credit and praise! 

I can’t tell you how this has helped me.  I ask God to do something huge – something that is promised in the Word – and to do it in a way that brings Him the most glory.  I don’t know all the ways He is working that are unseen, that affect others I don’t even know.  So when I pray that He gets the glory, I know that however He answers it will be for His fame – in the timing that makes that happen, in the sphere of influence to affect the most people and in eternal significance - not only what I see now.  I certainly don’t know what those things would be but He does.  Huge burden lifted.

The third thing I’ve been reminded of is to keep my attention on Him, not on my requests.  I love these verses in Jeremiah 32:

Ah Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm.  Nothing is too hard for You… O great and powerful God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, great are Your purposes and mighty are Your deeds!  vs. 17-19

Everything I’m facing or believing Him for takes its place under the greatness of my God! 

I bet you’re like me and that you’ve got quite a few things in your life that seem impossible.  We can pray "God, please bless this or that."  Or we can ask Him to do sun-stopping kinds of things that bring Him much glory. Today He is saying to us:

I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. 
Is anything too hard for Me?

Jeremiah 32:27

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