Good day to you all! As usual, it has been a while since my last post. I hope everyone is doing well. Since I tend to have such large gaps between posts, perhaps I will allow them to be there, but have them be more set in stone. Maybe a post every two weeks? We'll see what happens.
Tonight I've been thinking a lot about the nature of prayer... the need for prayer... the effect of prayer. I've had a very interesting week. Without going into details, I've found myself in a situation that is disappointing, hopeful, painful, sometimes encouraging, awkward, interesting, and completely out of my immediate control. Curious? Well, that's all you're getting.
As many of you know, the past year has been a real journey for me. My view of God and his sovereignty have shifted dramatically. I've gone from a rather flimsy view of the way he runs the universe to what you might call a... "robust" view of his sovereignty? I now say with Augustine, the will of God is the necessity of all things. If you're interested in what that means, take a look at some of my previous posts. I touch on it a bit there. Perhaps I'll cover it more thoroughly in the future.
The question that often arises in these discussions is, if God is in complete control of all that comes to pass, what is the point of prayer? If God's mind is made up about what is to come about, why ask him or think I can influence his mind? Doesn't Jesus say, "You have not because you ask not"?
As briefly as I can, I will simply say that I still believe in the necessity of prayer. I find the absolute sovereignty of God and the need for prayer absolutely pervasive in scripture, as opposed to each other these ideas seem to be. God ordains and foreknows all that comes to pass, but he also ordains the means by which they come to pass. Prayer is one of those means. Perhaps not all of you would look at it this way.. if not... we'll talk later, and perhaps I'll write more on the details of this in a later post.
All that being said, I would like to get back to just what this week has been doing in my heart. When everything began to unfold the way it did, I was tempted to sit back and cut my losses. I've had to do this before, and I believe I'll have to do it again. There's a time and a place where this must be done. However, something in me didn't quite want to take that rout. Something rose up in me that wouldn't let me sit and mope. What should I call it... faith? Hope? Discontent? I don't know for sure. All I know is that it was as if God was saying "Get on your knees. Ask me for help. Ask me to intervene!"
As a result, this has been a week of prayer... to say the least. Just when I think I've prayed enough, it's as if God keeps beckoning me back. Why does he work this way? Hasn't he made up his mind about what's going to happen? Why does he want my input? I have no idea, yet he wants it nonetheless. Not only that... but he's been getting it. That's the strange thing. I've heard people talk about times of prayer like this before. I thought they were self righteous... like they were bragging about how much they pray. That's not what it is at all, I haven't had to force it. I haven't been mustering faith, God seems to be compelling me to stay on my knees... it feels good. Weird.
So is everything going to turn out the way I feel compelled to pray it will? I would never want to presume on God's ultimate plan... but there's some way he's involving me in all this. We'll see what it is. But then, I find that's not the only purpose of prayer is it... getting what you want? I believe God loves to bless us and prayer is a means of doing it. But I've found there's so much more going on.
Here's just a few things that God is using this season of prayer to do in me:
1. Increasing faith in his goodness
2. Showing me how to enjoy his presence
3. Distancing me from the desire for sin
4. Making me feel my emotions at a much deeper level
5. Making me a more joyful person
6. Making me lean on him rather than my circumstances
I could name more, but you kinda get the idea. So, will everything go the way I'm praying it will? I'll keep you posted. But God is good... he keeps showing me that. He likes to be asked, no matter what the request. So ask it up! Whether or not he gives you exactly what you ask for, he always gives you himself... that trumps anything you could ever ask for.