The Man and I watched way too much TV last Sunday afternoon and evening. We began with John Wayne's Island in the Sky, when it was over we moved on to The High and the Mighty and as if that was not enough TV, we watched 2 parts of Lonesome Dove. I am not sure if we felt nostalgic or wanted to escape from all the bad news and political drama. We watched all this on a digital TV device - No Commercials!!!
There is something wonderful about John Wayne movies, he might die in a few of them, but the good guys always win. Sometimes, I think we want God to show up like John Wayne with guns blazing and take care of the "bad guys", we do not want to wait patiently, we do not care about His timing. Do it now God is our attitude.
Obviously, on occasion, we need an instant answer to prayer. But we do not need it in every instance nor should we expect it. My friend Norma used to say God answers all prayers with yes, no, or wait. I don't think we like no or wait. We want yes and fast just like the line at a drive through restaurant.
Andrew Murray had wonderful thoughts on prayer, two of my favorites are below:
“Each time, before you intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!”
“God cannot hear the prayers on our lips often because the desires of our heart after the world cry out to Him much more strongly and loudly than t our desires for Him.”
We must look at our desires and motives as we pray. Do our desires line up with the Word of God?
Sure, we pray throughout the day as we drive, work, wait in the carpool line. But it is ideal if we have a quiet period of time and pray intentionally. We are busy, it can be hard to make time, but it is vital we do make the time. Jesus was busy, yet He withdrew to quiet (solitary) places to pray.
One of the disciples asked Him how to pray. Jesus answered the question very specifically. I end with His instructions and example of prayer from Matthew 6 in the ESV:
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."