Sunday, February 03, 2008

Attitude of Prayer

Romans 8:26f says one of our weaknesses is that “we do not know how to pray as we should.” We only see this side of eternity. We see through selfish desires. Many time we want what will, as we see it, relieves us or the one for whom we supplicate of the most pain, stress, or trouble. We want what appears to be best. Yet, in every situation, in all reality, “we do not know how to pray as we should.”

Still, we are told to pray. To pray with faith. To pray about, for, in every situation and for everything. In the midst of this life we can only fulfill this obedience in the limitations of the life that we live on this earth. In the limitations of our non-omniscient human state of being. Even after salvation we are faulty, fallible, and fickled, at best. We are being sanctified because we are not sanctified. Predestined-Justified-Glorified. Sanctification is the process.

We see, we hear, we desire, we assess, and we pray to the best of our knowledge, to the best of our purest motives, and, by faith, asking for the best outcome, as we see it. But in all reality we don’t know for sure that we are correct in our assessments. Our knowledge is incomplete. Our purest motives are tainted. We must not trust ourselves in a dogmatic way. We are not omniscient. We are not sovereign.

So, it occurs to me that the spirit of prayer is best established in the humble truth that we pray as we believe we should but only the Spirit can intercede according to the Omniscient. If this is the spirit or attitude behind our prayer life then whether the outcome is, by chance, as we have prayed or the outcome is completely the opposite of the way we have prayed, we can trust that God uses all things, all situations, all outcomes to the good of His purpose.

“Lord, I don’t know how to pray about this particular situation. I pray to the best of my knowledge and ability but my faith and trust and hope is not in the outcome as I pray concerning this circumstance. My faith, hope, trust is in you. As you bring about the outcome of this particular prayer request I trust that you will bring about good in Your own way and according to Your own will.”

This attitude recognizes and acknowledges that God is sovereign over all of life. It also recognizes and acknowledges the ongoing reality of our human weakness. We are not as smart as we think we are and we are incapable of figuring out the events and details of this life. We cannot oversee the purposes of the events and details and how they all connect together. Only a sovereign God can oversee and orchestrate the events and details of life and use all of them for the good of conforming our image to that of His Son, Jesus Christ. He alone can be “the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:25)

Life is filled with triumphs and tragedies. If we are convinced that we know what’s best in any given situation and the event ends up going the opposite direction then we can become disillusioned with life. If we are convinced that we know, without doubt or by faith, what God’s direction is in any given situation and the events end up going the opposite direction then we can very easily become disillusioned with God. “How can God let something like this happen?”, “I just knew God would heal her.”, “I prayed so hard and God didn’t answer.”, “But we had so many people praying....”, are common questions and statements of disillusionment.

If we understand this attitude of prayer and it becomes a part of who we are, then the events, even the routine daily details of life are full of purpose. With this attitude our disillusionment with God or life may still come from time to time but they will be brought back into alignment with God’s sovereignty. Our faith and trust are in God, through Christ. He will bring His will to pass. I can trust Him. Every detail of every event has purpose. We can trust Him. He will cause every detail of every event to bring about the good of His purpose–developing believers to be more Christ-like in every way.


SouthernHeart said...

I love the verse that says He intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. At some of my darkest times when it was beyond my ability to pray, all I could say was "intercede for me, Holy Spirit...intercede for me."

I just found your blog and am enjoying it immensely...


Chuck Andrews said...

Thanks for dropping by and commenting, Dianne. Your Pat-A-Cake Babies are amazing. Incredible! God has truly gifted you.