Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Partnering in Prayer - A Lenten Devotion - Day 14 - Gutting What You Want Most, Every Time You Pray

Day 14 – Tuesday Getting What You Want Most, Every Time You Pray

A year ago at Antioch (I can’t remember whether it was Sunday nights or Wednesday nights), we did a study that I called “How to Get What You Really Want When You Pray--Every Time!” That was a bold title, and a bold study. There was, you guessed it, a catch. You can’t get what you want most every time you pray, if what you want most are things. You can’t have your prayers answered in the affirmative each time, if what you’re always praying for is for people to be physically healed. So how can you get what you want most, every time you pray?

When you want God, more than you want anything else in your life, then every time you pray, that’s what you get! When your heart is focused on relationship with your Father who loves you, more than on the things you want from God, then you get what you want most, every time you pray. Change your focus, and you’ll change your prayer life. You’ll never be disappointed.

In Speech, Silence, Action! Virginia Ramey Mollenkott says:

Most of the discussions of prayer I have ever heard centered on whether God answers prayer and how we can know that he does. But during the past decade I have come to believe that prayer is not a matter of my calling in an attempt to get God’s attention, but of my finally listening to the call of God, which has been constant, patient, and insistent in my inner being. In relationship to God, I am not the seeker, the initiator, the one who loves more greatly. In prayer, as in the whole salvation story unfolded by scripture, God is reaching out to me, speaking to me, and it is up to me to learn to be polite enough to pay attention. When I do have something to say to God, I am rendering a response to the divine initiative. So the questions of whether or not and how God answers prayer now seem to me bogus questions. God speaks, all right. The big question is do I answer, do I respond, to an invitation that is always open.

In Matthew 6:31-33 (NLT), Jesus gives us the answer to getting what we want most, every time we pray:

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

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