Friday, October 20, 2006

Praying without Waiting...

I don't pray well.

I wait well. I worry well. I evaluate well. I don't pray well. When something comes up, when tragedy strikes, I unconsciously begin to evaluate the situation, worry about my evaluation, and then wait on the authority of doctors or experts in the field of my concern to give a word. What will the report be? Much hinges upon that. I am often more concerned with human assurance than I am with Divine promise. Indeed, I confess, many times my view of the efficiency of God's grace for a given situation depends upon an assessment of the problem. When the diagnosis is not so bad, I'm okay with accepting that God is in control of the situation. However, when the good news turns out to be bad news, my faith falters as fear creeps back to take its familiar place. All the while, I forget that God's diagnosis has not faltered: We are a mess. Our spiritual condition is much worse than the most fierce bodily illness. His remedy is always the same: utter dependence on him. Every breath taken is taken by grace.

I wish my level of faith and trust in the sovereignty of God did not conform to the contours of my life's experiences. God is sovereign in the worst case scenario. The brilliance of His promises does not grow dimmer against the backdrop of suffering, it increases exponentially. The repeated dark nights of our lives end with mercies that are new every morning. If God is glorified by our dependence on him, then things that force us to that place of dependence must come from his grace-filled hand as well. If only my prayer life could be characterized by the truths and promises that my mind all to often hastily assents to. What if my subconscious reaction to life was fervent prayer? What if I could pray without ceasing? I pray I learn to pray without waiting. I long to learn to pray in light of the bitter and the sweet mercies of a just and good God.

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief and teach us to pray...

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