I’m off to London for a quick fun trip with my sister next week. I realized today that we’ve never been on a trip together as adults. Neither of us have been kids for quite a while but it’s fun to think about a trip with no parental supervision. haha! We are both huge fans of all things Jane Austen. Although someone recently told me I can’t really be considered a true fan if I’ve only seen her movies and not read the books. haha! Bonus ultra fan points for those who have read her books multiple times. Anyway, on those terms, I suppose I’m not as much of a fan as others but I will argue, that ANYTHING Jane Austen is fan-worthy and anyone who loves anything Jane Austen can be in my fan club, lame as some may think it.
What does Jane Austen have to do with prayer? Not really much of anything really but it’s on my mind so that’s where my brain fingers went. In watching the Jane Austen movies and all things BBC (also a fan!) there are catch phrases we non-British folk like to repeat to make us sound more proper. One being, “Pray tell, how do you take your tea? With one lump or two? A spot of milk for you?”
I’m a Texan who can appreciate both Southern slang and proper English but I can’t say I could ever pull, “Pray tell, how do you take your margarita? Would care for rocks or frozen with a spot of salt?” You have to read that in a British accent. Nah… it doesn’t work.
Praying, however, in the most common use of the word is definitely something I can pull off.
Pray: To speak to God or a god either privately or in a religious ceremony esp. to express thanks or to ask for help. To pray also means to hope. Cambridge Online Dictionary
God invites us into community with Him through prayer. He doesn’t really need us to help Him carry out His will, He wants us to and He gives us a choice to be a part of His work (or not). We get to be a part of His blessings and His will through our prayer time with Him. God knows how important community with Him is. So important that He sent the Holy Spirit to help us out.
There’s a fun, old Babbie Mason song that came to mind as I was writing this. Take a listen:
There are a few ways that we often pray that just don’t work. Is there a prayer that is useless? Not really because God always loves it when we talk to Him. He wants it all but like any parent, He loves hearing from His children. So no useless prayers, but here are a few prayers we might be praying that we simply can’t expect to be answered.
I remind myself often that God is not a vending machine. We don’t plug in our .75 and hit the button and our answer drops out at the bottom for us to grab and go and enjoy. It doesn’t work that way.
We can’t pray for the Lord to bless these cheesey, lard-laden enchiladas for the “nourishment of our bodies and our bodies to thy service”. It doesn’t work that way.
A prayer that goes against what God has already commanded is not going to be answered. A bit extreme but God is never going to say it’s okay to steal a car. Don’t even pray that. He’s never going to say it’s okay to cheat on a test. I doesn’t work that way.
God is not going to answer our prayers for life to be fair. Life is just not fair. We’re not promised fair. In fact, we’re promised the opposite of fair.
“Lord, help me be happy. Amen” Well, it doesn’t work that way either. Our ultimate goal as a Christ-follower is not to be happy but to be holy. I can’t think of one verse that refers to Jesus being happy. Everything He did was holy work. His goal was to fulfill the work of His Father and it was rarely, if ever (a disclaimer since I haven’t researched this), satisfying to his flesh.
If we approach prayer as a means to get what we want we will come up short handed every time. If we approach prayer as a means to be a part of God’s will, to get what HE wants, we will never be disappointed.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
I take a bit of liberty with this scripture and add the word “As” at the beginning. “As I delight myself in the Lord, he will give me the desires of my heart.” I’ve seen this happen so many times in my life. Sometimes He gives me things I didn’t even know I wanted. He’s awesome like that. This scripture in no way means we get what we want. This scripture in every way means we get what God wants. Are you approaching your prayer life with three quarters in your hand headed for the vending machine or you praying with your hands open ready for whatever God gives you?
Are you approaching your prayer life with three quarters in your hand headed for the vending machine or you praying with your hands open ready for whatever God gives you?
Share your thoughts on prayer here in the comments or over on the EPFH Facebook page if that’s easier for you.
This #FridayFive is brought to you by Mrs. Disciple’s Friday Five Link Up over at Mrs. Disciple . The prompt this week was “Answered Prayer”. Go check out Kelly’s motivational post, BREAKTHROUGH INSIGHTS FROM AN ASTONISHING ANSWERED PRAYER and visit a few others who have linked up. Be sure to leave some comments. Bloggers love feedback! What are you praying for today?