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Saturday, October 5, 2013

When We Pray...

Many years ago I used to paint plaster for fun and to give as inexpensive gifts. One of my favorites had a tacky bas relief image of praying hands, but the words are still planted in my heart: "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of!"

Perhaps I'm a slow learner, but I'm learning about learning all the time and I'd have to say there are levels of learning. Habits are formed by doing things consistently over time - good ones or bad.

Bad ones, for example, seem to grow incrementally. You bend the rules once and before you know it, the fences are down. Texting while driving comes to mind. Good ones, it seems, take more effort.
Taking time to pray, to ask our Father for the thing we so desperately desire is a good example. We do everything we can to try to obtain what we want, even believing it's what we need, or, we try to do without it, thinking it's not important or we can handle things on our own.

But, when we really just stop and ask our Father for the things we want or need, things begin to happen. Especially when we learn the lesson of asking and trusting that He will do what is best, give us our hearts desires, at the very best time.

It's like planting, I guess. When I was a kid, I planted some flower seeds. I thought it would be really neat to watch them grow. But they never came up. I looked for them day after day. Now I know there is a time for planting (Ecclesiastes), that the ground should be prepared and fertile instead of dry and destitute of nutrition, and that, most of all, I need to supply water. Then, I need to supply more water. and then, more, especially in the summer when it's really hot and dry!

So, back to asking the Father... Even when we do ask, if we don't really believe He will answer, we might as well toss the seed in the desert. There's no faith in it and we really shouldn't expect anything to happen when we do it. And, when we do ask believing that He can do it, it's like planting a seed in a freshly cultivated fertile pot of soil. Still, without water and some good old fashioned sunshine, nothing will happen. My deeply shaded backyard is all the evidence I need for this one. "You want grass, lady? Cut down the trees." Easier said than done when they are tall oaks within a few feet of the house...

Anyway, bury that seed in a continually watered, pot of rich soil set out in the morning sun and 'Presto!' Magic happens! Uhm, well, almost. There's still one more thing we have to do. Wait.

But then, what a joy it is knowing we have done all these things, when along comes our answer, or the thing we have hoped for! This is one of the joys Jesus promised: "Ask and you will receive so that you will be filled with joy" (John 16:24 The Voice).

Are we praying like that? It's a good habit! Believe me! 

"You do not have because you have chosen not to ask" (James 4:2 The Voice). Just sayin!