I recently read a quote by Andrew Murray that really got me thinking about the way that I pray. As Mr. Murray put it, “Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue. God’s voice in response to mine is its most essential part.” My prayers normally end when I say “Amen”. This should not be the case, though.
For me, the problem often lies in the fact that, when I go into a prayer with a specific problem in mind, I generally have a solution already worked out. My prayers are normally not simply the statement of the problem followed by “God, I know that all things work together for the good of those that love you so I trust that your will is the best thing for this situation.” They normally sound more like, “God, I come before you today with (fill in the blank) on my heart. I pray that you would help bring (solution in my head) to pass so that this problem will go away.” Essentially what I am doing by going into a prayer like that is putting God in a box and saying that the solution that I have already worked through is certainly the best in this situation.
How silly is it to think that we might be able to figure something out better than the one who created the universe? Think about that for a second.
I have found that it is best for me to go into prayer with no solution in mind. That makes it so much easier for me to not only hear God’s voice but to trust that the voice that I hear is God’s and not some preconceived idea/solution that I have worked up on my own. I find that the more I listen to God, the easier that He is to hear, and the less that I listen to Him, the harder it gets to hear His voice. This is not because He is not talking to us, but it is because we have muddled our minds and ability to hear Him with thoughts of our own.
If we are able to keep in mind that we serve a LIVING God who wants what is best for us in every situation, it makes our prayer life much easier. We can then go to Him with our thoughts and concerns without having to waste the time to lay out a “well thought out plan.” Let’s leave the solutions to the One who knows us and the situations that we are in best. If we do that, then we will certainly have more time to thank Him and praise Him for what he is doing in us and through us which is also a very important part of prayer.
That is a story for another blog post, though. -James