Tuesday, March 24, 2015

God is in the Details

... Or, is He?
A while ago, I began to stop praying for specific outcomes. Even for healing – and that was a tough one. For me, it was more of an inner shift in attitude than actual words. My heart often still cries out in need and “want,” but when I am finally “spent” with asking for help, my conclusion has increasingly become a version of “not my will, but thine.” In other words, “God, please change me on the inside so that I can trust You more and experience Your Presence in my life in spite of what happens to me or others that I care for.”

Learning how to pray is a life-long "inner" journey of aligning our hearts with God’s heart.

On the one hand, He tells us that He is indeed concerned with the details of our lives -- that the hairs on our heads are numbered (Matthew 10:29-31), and that His Spirit intercedes for us when our need is so deep we don't have the words to express it (Romans 8:26). We also read in Scripture that anything we ask in Jesus’s name will be given to us (John 14:13-14). But what does that really mean?

Here’s what it doesn’t mean: pray for an outcome you want in Jesus’s name, and you’ll get it.

When you ask for anything in someone else’s name, you had better know what they want or you will be misrepresenting them. Imagine an American ambassador going to a foreign country and speaking for our government without knowing or caring what our country’s position is on a given topic.* It’s kind of like that with prayer. If we ask something in Jesus’s name, we had better be sure that that is what HE wants, and not just what we want.

How do we know what Jesus wants for us?

We learn by listening, and not so much by talking. Over time, as I grow spiritually, the asking part gets shorter and I can more easily jump to the part that counts the most … asking that my heart become aligned with His heart, and that I can truly trust His work in my life, wherever that takes me. Then I shut up and just walk with Him. Trust me: trusting Him really works (Proverbs 3:5-6).

His Presence is way better than getting stuff.

Whatever God has planned for you and for me is beyond our ability to know ahead of time. He has the timeline and He sees around corners (Jeremiah 29:11). We cannot. He never promised us great outcomes, only His great Presence in the midst of our circumstances. And that is more than enough (Romans 8:38-39).

I have a song for everything: The Desert Song by Hillsong United
Here's a short video by Dr. Andrew Farley*

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