Ask for the BEST

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I pray, with faith. In my lifetime, there have been wonderful and amazing answers to prayer, real and rich blessings of knowing that I am cared for by a loving Father. I also find myself in situations that I do not like, that I would like God to change, and He does not. How do you pray? With faith, or are your prayers desperate – like that final deep field pass of a losing football team that hopes for a miraculous catch in the end zone to win the game?

Jesus teaches us about prayer this way. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11, NIV)

Good gifts? But, what about the dark days, the disappointments, the suffering?  Suffering has no place in the life of that person who understands prayer as a way to get God to dispense instant happiness! Prayer is a conversation that allows us to experience the Presence of the Holy Spirit in ALL of life, so that we can remain faithful equally when we are celebrating a victory or in a season of suffering.  Most Christians must struggle, at some point, to reconcile these two statements – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, NIV)  and “if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.” (1 Peter 4:19, NLT)

The best kinds of prayers lead us to maturity, to trusting Him, to letting go of ‘self’ to find His will.  How can we do that?

First, we must conquer our culture’s love of “now.”   
We crave the satisfaction of our desires right now, don’t we?  We are quickly convinced that we are entitled to happiness, prosperity, and comfort; right now! We expect God to heal us, now!   We demand freedom from our pain, now!  We think that we should attain spiritual maturity and depth of intimacy with God, now!   We think that Jesus should step in and fix the things that trouble us, now!    But, God does not work in our limitations of time.   His desires for us span our lifetime; and beyond into eternity.

Second, we must let God show us the difference between happiness and the joy He gives.
So much of life consists of choosing between the quick returns of ‘getting what I want’ and the richer reward of deferred gratification that comes from patience.  Honestly, when the struggles of life, which are real, are causing me to be exhausted, my prayers are sometimes childish –  “God, do something now and make me happy.” And that is natural.

However, the Word reminds me, “We do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17, NKJV) The kind of prayer that seeks the best is formed around asking God for steady faith, for long-range vision, for courage to say “No,” to temptation and “Yes,” to the Spirit.

Third, we must be willing to allow for mystery!
“Cause and effect” is a great principle. When I hit the light switch, I like that darkness is dispelled by the flow of electricity to my light fixture. But, much of our human experience is outside the realm of direct cause and effect. Good people suffer, right alongside of the most evil.  Some great saints go through awful times here in this world on their way to Heaven.  And, I can’t explain it. I lack the knowledge to grasp how much of life works.

Jesus says “Ask, knock, seek …”  keeping open a conversation with God, our Father. Our prayers will include praise, petition, weeping wordlessly, shouting exuberantly, quiet contemplation, watchful waiting, intensely loving, hanging on through despair… and more.

Let’s learn to ask for the BEST, going beyond ‘prayer’ that is a recitation of a list of wants and grievances, bracketed with a Scripture promise, and that demands ‘what I want now.’ Such praying misses the relational aspect of living with God, as Father, who reveals Himself as Awesome and tender. Relating to Him, in faith, in both ways can be a stretch, but it is exactly the stretch that I need to make to remain steady.   And, I would urge that you do the same.

Are you suffering?  Pray!  Talk life over with the Lord. Tell Him the desire of your heart.  Ask boldly of Him, even as you confess His goodness and His greatness.   The word from the Word For God has reserved a priceless inheritance for his children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And God, in his mighty power, will protect you until you receive this salvation, because you are trusting him. It will be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while.” (1 Peter 1:4-6, NLT)

_________

Way Maker

You are here moving in our midst
I worship You I worship You
You are here working in this place
I worship You I worship You

(You are) Way Maker Miracle Worker Promise Keeper
Light in the darkness my God that is who You are

You are here touching ev’ry heart
I worship You I worship You
You are here healing ev’ry heart
I worship You I worship You

You are here turning lives around
I worship You I worship You
You are here mending ev’ry heart
I worship You yeah I worship You Lord

That is who You are
That is who You are
That is who You are
That is who You are

Even when I don’t see it You’re working
Even when I don’t feel it You’re working
You never stop You never stop working
You never stop You never stop working

Osinachi Kalu Okoro Egbu © 2016 Integrity Music Europe (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (Integrity Music [DC Cook]))

CCLI License # 810055

Published by Jerry Scott

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a Dad to Jay, Sean, Christine, and Maribel. I am a Pastor at Faith Discovery Church. Jerry D. Scott

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