Monday, January 29, 2018

Be careful what you pray for...

Usually I start out my blog posts with some story or funny incident that helps to drive home the topic for that particular post. Today, I have none of those stories or incidents that will hook you and make you want to read the rest of the post. Today's post is just some unfiltered, real world experience in being careful when you pray.

I have learned in my life that one of the best ways for me to discern the will of God in decisions I need to make is to rely on God to bring peace to my heart about the direction I am leaning. I generally pray asking God to put me at peace about my decision. I ask Him if I'm leaning in the wrong direction, to make me so uncomfortable and uneasy that I couldn't possibly head in that direction. When I've been faithful to constantly pray about decisions in this way, He has been faithful to encourage me and discourage me as I've asked. The unsettling part about asking for confirmation in this way is when you are eerily at peace about a decision that ought to scare you to death. When you come to God seeking peace or a restlessness about a situation, be prepared because He will answer in the way that meets His will, and sometimes it won't be what you want it to be. You have to be careful what you pray for, because you may not get the answer you want.

Another way that we must be careful about the way we pray is when a storm of life rolls in and we ask God to help us through it. When we do we may pray for God to give us strength, grace, or even His peace to weather the storm. Recently I've prayed for peace regularly as our family has begun to once again walk through a difficult time. The remarkable and downright scary part of the way God has answered this prayer is the completeness with which He has provided. When faced with earth-shattering news, we can either fall apart or we can fall on God. The longer I live the more I find that my tendency is to fall on God. I don't say this as some type of super Christian who doesn't have a care in the world and thinks everything will always be okay. I say it from the perspective of one who has, in those moments of deepest need, turned to God, sought His provision, and received more than I deserved. With each passing instance of relying on God, He proves Himself faithful time and time again. So why wouldn't I go running to Him? When you do pray for peace, grace, strength or any other need for a difficult time in your life, be sure to share the source of your provision. If God offers peace and others notice it, then give God the credit. If God gives you an abundance of grace and others see it, then make sure God is given the glory. If God provides you with unimaginable strength, then tell others where your strength is found. We sometimes pray, receive, and then forget to give credit where credit is due. Be careful what you pray for, because when God provides, you need to give Him the glory.

I hope, if nothing else, that this week's post will encourage you to pray for guidance and provision when you face decisions, uncertainties, and challenges in life. Pray about them and pray expectantly (James 1:6-7). Pray fervently (James 5:16) and pray constantly (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Watch how God answers your prayers and then give Him the credit.

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