Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” – Colossians 4:2 (ESV)
A few days ago, I mentioned a sermon by Dr. James Merritt over the weekend where he talked about the importance of prayer in our daily lives. There are so many great examples of how to pray and talk to God, from the Psalms to Job to Habakkuk, and on down the line. Even so, I’ve struggled greatly for a long time on how to do it properly myself.
For example, there were several times over the summer where I’d go out on my deck late at night and say “Heavenly Father, help me to be more patient with those around me. Make tomorrow a day of real progress for me. I promise I’ll do my best to be more patient.” And then the next day would roll around, and I’d get impatient again, and that night I’d look out on the deck and say to myself, “Oh no, I can’t do this again. He’s seen how I’ve acted today and here I am, about to ask him for more strength to fight this. How many times am I going to take advantage of His kindness and grace ?” I’d still go out on the deck and pray with that same request, but I’d have that nervous feeling inside, that I’d be back again the next night asking for more forgiveness again. Where is my repentance ? Maybe God doesn’t have time for this…
Last Sunday’s sermon from John Piper put me in my place. He told the story of a grandmother who he’d been encouraging to pray with her requests to God and she told him that God has more important things to do than to deal with her little requests. Pastor John answered her (and me) this way:
“No, no, no. That’s arrogance, not humility. That’s presuming that God gets busy ? God never gets busy. He’s totally in control all the time, never at wit’s end, always ready to take on another million requests from all over the world. And His glory is magnified in that.
Pour it on ! Load His shoulders down if you believe they’re strong ! Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened…
You’re commanded to ask.”
For me, this was the right message at the right time. Dr. Piper made me realize how foolish I am when I think the way I do. He went on to cover many more points on proper prayer, which I’ll probably write more about soon. I made a CD of his sermon to keep in the car with me. I have a feeling I’ll be listening to it often.
I have so much growing to do in this area. By God’s grace, I will grow every day.