FAITH: Does God speak back to you in your prayers?
We have a crisis going on in our lives right now, so I have been in perpetual praying mode. I’m basically praying without ceasing, like 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 states.
“16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Without getting specific about my prayers, one minute I would pray for wisdom, truth, Christian counseling to those involved. The next day I would be praying they would be miserable, that God would send pestilence on them. That roaches and frogs would invade their space to the point of misery.
Then I would add – “But God, I want Your perfect will, in all concerned.”
LOL! Do any of us really know how to pray when something comes up that we have no control over?
I know in Matthew 6:9-13 and in Luke 11:2-4, Jesus gives us a model prayer.
“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”
So basically, Jesus wants us to praise God, ask for His will; not ours, pray that we would have food, pray for the forgiveness of our sins, and pray that we would be forgiving to those around us. I never have gotten that last line in that prayer.
“Lead us not into temptation?”
Why would God lead us into temptation? If God did tempt us to sin, He would be acting contrary to His holy nature. His desire for us to be holy as He is holy, is the most prevalent in God’s mind.
I read online that someone thought that it was God teaching us to avoid temptation by saying it that way? Or to keep us aware of the spiritual battle we are in. Well, that explanation did not satisfy me, so I dug a little deeper.
Paul Thigpen writes that some of the confusion arises from the word itself. He states that James uses the verb form of the same word “peirasmos”. The same root term is intended, and the Greek word has more than one meaning. Americans think of “enticement to sin”, but peirasmos can also mean “test or “trial” in the sense of adversity.
James uses this same word in James 1:2-3 & 12.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials (peirasmos) of many kinds…”
If you Google how to pronounce “peirasmos”, it has the Greek definition of “make proof or trial of”. So, with those two explanations, I do feel better about that last sentence. It makes a lot more sense, but even with this model prayer – it’s still very hard to pray for the things that go on in our surroundings.
The model doesn’t tell us how to pray or what to pray, when your friend is battling drug abuse, or if someone is disobeying God according to His word, or someone not spending their money wisely, etc.
We are to pray without ceasing, but does that mean we just continually babble “God, have your perfect will in their life?” Surely not. I know that should be part of our prayer since God knows best and we don’t, but I would think we would need some meat in the prayer.
A Pastor once said our prayers should be like a conversation. Well, if I was speaking to one of my girlfriends or my husband, I would give them all the details, probably interject my opinion about the situation, then follow it up with “but I don’t know”. I like to have conversations with God like this. Yes, I know He already knows all the details, but I like to tell Him my theories, and my side. I always throw in things like “God, you know my heart, I can’t lie to You.”
I’m not real sure if my prayer habits are correct, but God does know my heart. He does know that I want His will in all things. And He knows that I put no one above Him.
So, I’ll keep praying the way I have been for the last 35 years until God tells me otherwise. God definitely has heard me; and spoken back to me; so I must be doing something right?
Karen Y. Stevens, Executive Director, Meals on Wheels