Great moment in a creative meeting today. We had much discussion about how to approach someone with an issue…different angles, multiple perspectives. But then our senior pastor did something that should be normal. It was so profound I got choked up. He said, “let’s hold up on talking to them…let’s pray right now that God would show them what is right and appropriate.”
May that be the first thing I do.
So these first few weeks at the Church have been a whirlwind. So much to learn about where we’ve been so we can see clearly where to go. The hard part is that there’s a service that happens every week. It doesn’t wait for me to get “up to speed.”
The Lord reminded me a couple of times today that it all does not depend on me. Sure, I’m the one responsible for all the positions being filled and music beieng chosen, etc., etc. But in the end God has called me to this place at this time and the most effective thing I can do with all these needs is ask Him.
He wants to meet my needs. He wants to meet the needs of His Church – the “thing belonging to the Lord.”
The Church is His. I am His. And all I have to do is call upon His name and He will answer.
It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 1 Kings 3:10
I want what I ask of God to please Him. I just want to please Him.
I started reading 1 Samuel a couple of weeks ago and have just kept going because the stories are so good. I’ve made it to Solomon (1 Kings) now and I know there are some major failings coming up, but the beginning of his reign over Israel is unparalleled. Such promise. Such presence of the living God.
Oh to have a desire for wisdom that pleases God.
Oh that my desires please Him.
Oh that the ultimate yearning in my heart is for Him. I believe this pleases Him the most.
And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”
It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” 1 Kings 3:7-14
There are some 300,000 churches in America, and I could have picked any one to attend on Easter morning, but I liked being in this one. Especially the kids. They didn’t need Reverend Henderson’s prayer techniques, or the high-tech mantras of the Brooklyn Tabernacle. Their prayers weren’t Rabbi Gellman’s suburban Jewish prayers of Thanks! offered to whom it may concern. They didn’t pray to de-center their egos or find transcendence or to set off on a lifelong therapeutic spiritual journey. They prayed to a God with whom they were on a first-name basis, and they believed their prayers gave them power, which they used on behalf of their asthmatic sisters and infirm grandparents and a kid they knew with burns on his body. Sitting in church on Easter morning, I realized that I was probably never going to become a praying man. But if, by some miracle, I ever do, I hope my prayers will be like the prayers of the kids I met at the Love church in Berkeley Springs. Straight-up Gimme! on behalf of people who really need the help. –ZEV CHAFETS in the New York Times Magazine
This is quite an interesting article about prayer (and long if you know the Times magazine). This last paragraph was so powerful to me. The author is an agnostic and goes to all kinds of Churches, Synagogues, therapists, etc. to find out about prayer.
In the end the most powerful expression came just as Jesus said it would: like a child.
I want to come to God like that. So often when I pray I’m concerned with “squeezing it in” or getting to everyone on my list rather than just coming to Jesus with my heart open to the possibility that He can do anything. Anything for me. Anything for those I love and care about. All I have to do is believe.
So, this week, I’m going to lay my heart open before the Lord and be like a child. Imperfect and full of anticipation.
Just like a little kid.
Recently, one of my Twitter friends stated, “what you ask of God reflects what you believe about Him.”
If I don’t ask Him to meet seemingly unmeetable needs, do I not believe He can or would meet those needs (Phillipians 4:19)? If I don’t ask him to heal the sick, do I actually believe He can do it (Isaiah 53:5)? If I refrain from asking Him to make a way for me in my job/career do I somehow not really believe that He helps those who call on Him (Matthew 7)?
I want to believe God for great things. Things that can’t be explained away rationally or with some natural answer.
Remember the movie Pay It Forward? Haley Joel Osment’s character embarks on a project to do good things for others. But the things have to be what he calls “Big.” Not just holding the door for someone (that’s good), but something that alters someone’s life in a meaningful, impactful way.
That’s what I want to pray for, to ask God for. For mountains in people’s lives to be moved, for the mountains in my life to be moved.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11)
Recently at work I saw a name of a foundation that said this to me: The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. The namers of this organization weren’t aiming to make a few nice discoveries. They were going for the end-all for those who are affected by paralysis: the cure.
That’s what I want to have the faith to ask for in my life…to get rid of all debt…to see my eyes healed…to have a song cut…and on to my family, on to friends, on to cities, on to nations.
Let’s ask God for big things!!
What are you asking for?