Ever seen (or been) one of those people who press the button to switch the traffic light over and over again as if the technology didn’t process this the first time?
My impatience was revealed as I caught myself doing this last week, even though I rarely ever do this, knowing logically in my head it makes no difference. But I justified it, thinking to myself, I’ve been at the light for already a full minute and a half, so something must be wrong. Let’s try it three more times.
I realized I do this with God often. I pray the same prayer over and over, as if He didn’t hear me the first time, and then worry about my problem because I don’t have confidence that He’s gotten my prayer taken care of.
The Bible, however, shows how God always listens to His people’s prayers, and responds in perfect timing. He never “accidentally” misses my heart’s request because His mind is racing with other things and zones out on me.
Through this silly experience, God taught me to have confidence that He always hears me. And because God hears me, that automatically means He’s gotten it taken care of – He will never let one of my needs go unfulfilled. When I take the bold step to not repeat my prayers and worry about my problem, my faith grows as I watch Him constantly provide for my needs without me worrying. This is how we experience God, when we step out in faith. Knowledge from the Bible can only go so far without also stepping out in faith.
Saying our prayers and resting in God’s willingness and ability to provide reminds me of that Ron Popeil marketing guy who used to sell some invention to cook chicken. Similar to the crock-pot, this “invention” would allow you to cook your chicken without having to worry about it. You could press the “start” button and let it cook while you moved on with your life. You could “Set it, and forget it!”
This is the ultimate promise of salvation: that we rest. It’s like when Jesus literally slept through the storm in complete confidence that His Father’s fierce love meant protection from harm. Worry creates unrest and a busy mind that leaves us exhausted and dreading life’s unpredictable circumstances.
…In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength
There are two types of prayer. There are prolonged times of prayer that intercede for His people and seek after God Himself, His will, wisdom, strategy and guidance. There are also short little ones that just need to be said once.
Example of seeking: Our Tahiti mission team pressed into God almost everyday to pray for people, seek His will, strategy and Presence. Without this kind of prayer, we would have missed God’s will for the mission and for our personal lives.
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.
Example of short little prayer: Let’s say you’re a Christian who is overcoming an alcohol addiction and you’re invited to a sporting event that triggers your craving for beer. Praying that the Holy Spirit give you grace to say “no” to beer, and focusing on God’s ability to do it, will enable you to not grow anxious before the event, and also enjoy yourself at the event. Of course you have to be in a place where you actually want to overcome the addiction, which is a whole other topic.
I also pray for sweet parking spots. It’s fun because God always comes through, seriously. Though this may seem trivial, when God provides in these smaller ways His love actually becomes bigger because it shows me that He even cares about the “less important” desires of my heart.
Regardless of which prayer we’re engaged in, we watch, wait and expect Him to answer. We’re not to focus on the problem. Just God Himself. It’s exciting. It builds our relationship with Him. It brings us joy to see Him respond.
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
Of course, this kind of confidence can only be achieved if we have the correct view of God’s love toward us and a correct view of ourselves. If we don’t *really* believe God is capable and willing to love us beyond our imagination like the Bible says, and/or we do not think we are perfectly worthy to receive God’s love because of grace, it is impossible to not worry. We are all damaged people and desperately need to renew our minds about God’s love and ourselves. This is why reading the Bible, learning how to hear (and obey!) God’s voice, and inner healing are so important. Knowing His love and your own true worth is the antidote for all emotions rooted in fear like worry and anxiousness.
There is truly no greater pursuit in this life than the discovery and rediscovery of His love every day. It takes an open and teachable heart and mind, daily submission, commitment, and perseverance. But it’s worth our very lives to know the width, the length, the height, the depth…
I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen