Thought I’d give you an update on the old bathroom. Since he finished the plumbing, my handy man husband now has the bathtub in! Yeah! I can’t wait until it’s functional. It’s a slow process when you already have a full-time pastor job, four kids, volunteer many places, and teach steer-wrestling lessons. Yep, that last one is real. He’s a busy fellow. So, instead of longing too much for a second toilet, I will just be grateful for hard work and learning new words like “hardy board.” That is the next step apparently (putting up the concrete sheet rock around the tub/shower). On to prayer.
Prayer is something that is refreshing for me…really like a deep breath. But I am here today to boast about my weaknesses. I did some writing about the Parable of the Sower for Smyth & Helwys this week, and I felt called to examine my heart “soil” and see what is there that keeps me from listening to God. Thus, I came to my doubt.
I don’t mind asking God for help, and I believe God’s word about prayer. I mean, Matthew 21:22 sounds great and all, but I have niggling doubt when I ask God for something. I think if you’re honest, you might struggle with the same thing. I’m not coming from a place of disappointment with this struggle. I know God can change circumstances. I believe God cares and wants to hear from me, but as life moves along, I’ve found that I don’t know what is best. I’m not God. I see what is right and wrong, but so many circumstances we want to change are self-serving (and not necessarily in a greedy way). For example, I pray for my kids to be kept safe, and I will continue to. I also believe God has kept them safe in many ways. I just think there is more to this life than we really understand. The mystery of God, the Holy Spirit, and Christ Jesus brings me round and round to a large picture that I only have pieces to.
I know this doubt is not fair. God has provided for us. God has strengthened us. God has blessed us. But is this because I prayed? Or is it because it was God’s will to do those things? Do I really know what I need? Do you? How much of what we pray is what we want? what helps us? what makes our lives easier? Perhaps I’ve no answers at all, but this doubt hasn’t kept me from crying out to God.
Maybe this is the point in prayer—-to keep crying out and to keep listening regardless of feeling faithful or faithless. I don’t know how much my prayers eventual different circumstances, but I do know that without prayer I would not be a healthy person. If I neglect prayer, be assured liveliness drains and yuck abounds. In the end, I know I am safe to pray for the will of God, not my own.
Doubt or no doubt, I know these things:
We should pray for our persecutors. (Matt. 5:44)
There should be no babbling in prayer. (Matt. 6:7)
We should pray sincerely…so I offer my doubt to God as well. (Matt. 6:5)
We should pray in secret. (I guess I should make this post short!) (Matt. 6:6)
We should pray for children. (Matt. 19:13)
We should forgive in prayer. (Mark 11:25)
We should pray when tempted. (Luke 21:40)
What is your struggle with prayer?