Saturday, October 30, 2010

how do you pray?

As I was listening to a podcast while I ran ten miles this morning, I was challenged to pray in a new way. The pastor shared about how when we pray for people, especially those on the mission field, we consistently pray for their safety. We pray that they will be safe and that God would protect them from danger, that they would not face any trials or tribulations. We essentially pray that their lives would be trouble-free.
Now, while most of us would gladly accept a pain-free life, the reality is that is not just going to happen. We live in a fallen world. There is an enemy out to destroy us. But, we know that ultimately we have victory. We already know how the story ends.
In the podcast, the pastor shared that we should pray that God would show up in our lives, wherever we are, whatever we are doing. We should pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to work in and through us. We should pray for divine appointments that will further the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We should pray for the fruit of the Spirit to be apparent in our lives. We should pray for patient endurance and ultimate victory in every challenge that comes our way.
God has not called us to a life of safety. Jesus did not lead a "safe" life. Paul did not lead a "safe" life. "In everything that we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. We prove ourselves by our priority, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit with us, and by our sincere love." 2 Corinthians 6:4-6
I think that those words imply that Paul lived anything but a safe life. I am reminded of Lucy's question in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. She asks, "Is he safe?" To which Mr. Beaver responds, "Safe?! Of course he's not safe, but he's good."
How true are those words! My God is not a God of safety, but He is most definitely a God of goodness. So, when we pray, maybe we should focus more on bringing forth God's goodness in all situations than praying that God would protect us and keep us safe from the things He may want to use to teach us.
My prayer today:
"I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called--His holy people who are His rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God's power for us who believe Him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God's right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority of power or leader or anything else--not only in this world but also in the world to come." Ephesians 1:15-21

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