Sunday, January 11, 2009

Insights on Prayer

The winter of 2008-2009 in the Seattle area blew in as a force to be reckoned with. In an area that seldom sees snow deeper than 5 or 8 inches, the Christmas season brought a record 26 inches of snow in my area. As beautiful as it was, the dangers grew with each new snowfall. Roofs were heavy with wet snow, and roads that almost never see a snowplow accumulated a deep, slick snow pack. Electricity was unpredictable at best. Christmas Day, in particular, was better spent outside shoveling snow than sitting in a cold house with a few lights powered by a gasoline generator.

Just as the mounds of shoveled snow began to shrink, the floods came. Some areas received their total annual rainfall in two short days. Rivers crested 5 and 8 feet above flood level washing a foot of water into homes that had previously never flooded. Roads that had been cleared of snowpack were now covered with water and impassable again. Entire communities were transformed into isolated islands surrounded by swelling lakes of water.

Through each new weather event, I prayed. Early on, my prayers vacillated between praising God for the singular beauty of the snow and praying fervently for protection and an end to the storms. As I prayed for what I thought needed to happen, the Lord stopped me. Gently, He told me that my prayers sounded like someone asking a magician to perform tricks.

His said clearly, “I am not a magician. I am the Lord of the Universe.”

Immediately, I realized that I was praying as if I thought that I knew best, and if He would just do what I asked, then everything would be okay. Instead, I should have turned over the situation to Him and prayed for His will to be done. After all this time of following Jesus, I know without question that His solutions are always perfect--so much better and more complete than anything that I can propose.And I know that His power is greatest in the storms of life.

In short, I had been praying with my limited earthly vision. I should have been praying for intervention and help that comes from His divine Kingdom vision.

But then, I was also confused. Did this mean that I should not bring my needs to the Lord? He clarified for me, “You should ask Me for help, but not as a puppet who perform miracles on request--but as your God who is all powerful.”

Enough said. The storms have passed, but more are certain to come. In those storms, I will ask for His insight and leading, and then I’ll pray according to the insight and revelations He provides.