Pardon my fatherly tone here but this blog is first and foremost a platform (or soapbox) for me to communicate to my own children and grandchildren some of the things I’ve learned over the years in hopes that they’ll catch on much earlier than I did.
So, as more and more friends become aware of my potentially terminal prognosis, their deep concern for me and our family is poured out in many prayers for us. For that we are unspeakably grateful.
And, having been in their position numerous times myself, I have a pretty good idea of how those prayers sound. “Lord, please heal Dan.” “Lord, give the Small family peace.” “Lord, give the doctors wisdom.” “Lord, DO SOMETHING! NOW!”
These are all heartfelt expressions and desires we have in common whenever faced with difficulty. But one of the most precious lessons I’ve learned in recent years is that this is not the essence of prayer (as God intended it). They are petitions, not too much different than the one’s people ask us to sign for any number of political or social causes.
My prayer for you (especially my children/family) is that in the midst this season in which our human need regularly jolts us to cry out for supernatural intervention all of us will graduate into a fuller, freer lifestyle of conversing with our Maker/Redeemer/Friend.
For that to happen we need to understand what God intended prayer to be. To understand that we need to embrace why/how He made us. He distinguished us from EVERY other being/entity in the universe by making us “in His image and likeness.” He illustrated what that should look like by daily walking with our first parents “in the cool of the evening” probably discussing their adventures and giving the tour-guide tips for the next day, etc.
I don’t think I’m oversimplifying the Message God left us in the Bible and the record of Jesus’ earthly life to say that EVERYTHING He has done was for the purpose of getting to live life with us. I can hear the longing in His voice when He appeals through the Psalmist in Psalm 32:9, “Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you.” In other words, He’s saying, “what do I have to do to get you to want to be around Me and have Me in your life?”
Well, my blog word count alarm is beeping. So much more to say. For now, “kids,” next time you pray for me, rather than telling Him what you want Him to do, how about asking Him what He’d like to do or what’s on His heart for us. Then, AND THIS WHOLE EXPERIMENT WILL GO NOWHERE unless you do this: STOP TALKING. I mean it. When you get to a place where “prayer” for you is more listening than talking, you’ll discover a whole new world. He can hardly wait!!