Saturday, June 11, 2016

Running Around in Circles

Running Around in Circles
    Do you ever feel like you're running around in circles - especially in your prayer life?  In the photo, my grandson Storm is playing Duck, Duck, Goose with a group of kids at VBS.  He's running around the circle, seeking a place to land.  Sometimes, that's how I feel when I pray.
    We have such an awesome God who offers to us the privilege of prayer -- the ability to actually talk with the One who created the entire universe and beyond, to express our feelings and needs to Him, and to have Him listen and respond.  When you think about it, it's beyond amazing!
    Yet, if you're like me, you still kinda want to understand how that works.  When God says, "Ask and you shall receive, that your joy be full" Matthew 7:7, what does that really mean?  Does it mean that I can ask God for healing for Storm's 14-year old cousin who has been in a coma for ten days as a result of a traffic accident, and he'll definitely be healed?  Does it mean I can ask God for answers to various other needs and always expect a happy outcome?  Those of us who know anything about prayer, know the answer to those questions are "Not always."
     Sometimes, God answers our prayers in the affirmative immediately, other times there is a need for extended prayer for the thing and then He gives it to us.  Then, there are the times He answers with an entirely different outcome than we asked or wished for.  Those are the times we question and, in some cases, we might wonder if our prayers even matter.
     One day I lamented to God, "I just don't understand prayer!"  I felt Him lovingly answer my spirit, "You don't have to understand, you just have to obey and pray."  I actually felt relieved that I didn't have to understand the process (cause trying to understand always brings on a "circle moment"), I just needed to do the thing - to obey God's directive to pray and trust Him to handle the outcome.
    That old song, "Trust and Obey," is so relevant here.  We need to obey God's directive to pray - which is plainly taught throughout His Word -- and then, we need to trust His loving heart to know what is best for us on this sinful earth.
    I believe that verse, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" James 5:16, reveals a lot to us about the power of prayer.  Even so, we need to never forget the verse in Isaiah 45, that reminds us of the sovereignty of God:  "I have made the earth, and created man on it...and I will direct all his ways..."
   Yes, there will always be times we get caught in a circle while we remain in this world (which is itself a circle), but God has promised that He provides a landing place for us.  I always come back to the wise verses in Proverbs 3:  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
    Thank you Lord for the awesome privilege of prayer, and for your patience with us when we run around in circles.  Help us to land in your arms of love and grace and peace.  And help us to always trust and obey.

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