Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sanctuary of Tranquility: Keep Praying...Never Give Up...

Sanctuary of Tranquility: Keep Praying...Never Give Up...: “If Christianity was something  we were making up, of course  we could make it easier... But it isn't."                 ...

Keep Praying...Never Give Up...

“If Christianity was something we
were making up, of course,
we could make it easier...
But it isn't."
                       -CS Lewis

We stumble through this world trying to do the very best we can. We eat, sleep, go to work and some take the time to pray. As with going to church, the amount of praying we do varies from person to person. I can only reflect on my own life and my own prayer habits. 
When I was growing up, I knew there was a God but I knew very little about church or prayer. When I was scared or worried and at bedtime, I would recite the Lord's Prayer. Sometimes silently inside of my head and other times out loud. It was and continues to be how I enter the Gates to the Lords Court, to His divine ears. Always with praise and worship, before any prayer requests ever enter my mind.

Psalm 100:4 (KJV)  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

When I was growing up my prayers were inconsistent and typically consisted of the Lords prayer followed by something like, "God Bless my mom and my dad and my brother" and whoever else happened to pop into my sleepy head. That was about the extent of it. 
Even as a younger adult, my prayers remained inconsistent.

I have involved myself with all kinds of Bible Studies in my life. Sometimes the individual in charge would make up and print out prayer lists of people that those attending the study felt needed prayer. All kinds of people, most of whom I didn't know, which made having the incentive to do so even more remote yet more necessary at the same time. I found it difficult to pray to those I had no connection to, yet somehow I knew it was God's desire. As with most of us, praying for those in our everyday lives was much more comfortable. 

I was 29 years old when my father died. He was in the hospital miles and miles from my home for nearly two weeks prior to his death. It was the first time in my life I had ever had anything of that proportion to deal with, and the first time as an adult that I was faced with the idea of the death of someone I loved so dearly. 
When I prayed it was in my own made up way, that consisted of anguished cries sounding something like "Please God, don't let my dad die. I need him, I love him, he needs to be here to teach my son about baseball...please God, don't take him away from us."
My dad was in a coma the entire time I was there, yet early on the morning of the twelfth day I crept into his room and perched on his bed. I told him that my son was very ill and that I needed to go home (1500 miles away) to take care of him. He opened his eyes and told me to go home and take care of my boy. When I walked out of the room and told the nurse he had spoken to me I am reasonably certain she thought I was crazy.

I went to the airport and boarded my flight home. Way up in the clouds I continued to pray. I thought about what an active, healthy man my father had been before his terrible accident. He had always been an avid outdoors man with a deep love for walking, camping, and fishing; and he had been in excellent physical condition. 
My brain conjured up pictures of him confined to a wheelchair, needing kidney dialysis to survive. 
Somehow the idea of praying that he would stay alive for little old me seemed very selfish and terribly wrong. 
It was at that point, that I gained a clear understanding of what Jesus meant in Matthew 6:10 when he said, 
Your Kingdom come, Your will be done. 

I was ashamed of myself and through my tears, I discussed this with God, a God I knew very little about and that was what I prayed for...
God's will.

My dad died the next day.

Twenty- seven years later I went through something very similar with my mother. She was dying from cancer and was in a great deal of pain. I asked the doc what could be done about her pain and she said, "We can increase her  morphine dosage, but it will cut short her remaining time." Without batting an eye I replied, "What are you waiting for?" 
and to Jesus, "I love her and I will miss her every day, but if it is your will to take her, please do it. Don't let her suffer anymore."

She never even made it to hospice, she died that same night. 
Praise you Father, for your love for us, is the greatest love of all. 

Our prayers have to make sense to God and they have got to be for the good of the Kingdom. 
Prayers out of selfishness miss His ears and are cast to the wind. 
Prayers are a private thing and are rarely answered quickly in circumstances other than life and death. 
God takes advantage of our prayers to grow us up. Think about a time when you prayed for something for quite a while. Maybe your prayer was finally answered and maybe you are still waiting. Whatever the case, think of how much you have changed and grown since your praying first began. 

God is so amazing! He knows more about us than we know about ourselves. He knows what needs to be changed about us to prepare us for the fulfillment of our prayer and the future he has planned for us. He wants to draw us closer to him and what better way to make that happen than to use any difficult circumstances we are going through to teach us and reach us?

Isaiah 40:31
But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

He leaves us hanging by a thread, daring us to throw in the towel. He is testing our faith, He wants to know just how much we believe in Him and His promises. He is waiting for us to stop wondering if  He is going to handle our situation and start wondering,  just how in the world He is going to pull it off. God is so good. I always just ask that His Perfect Will be Done. 
In this day of instant gratification, people get tired of waiting and they get annoyed with God. They give up, throw in the towel and never know just how miraculous things could have and would have turned out if they had just hung in there. One more day, one more month, one more year...if they had just been patient. 

The Bible speaks of people waiting on the Lord forty plus times. Psalms uses the phrase twenty-five times and the Book of Isaiah, eleven times.  
The phrase seems to have originated with David and goodness knows he had more than his share of difficulties and must have spent a whole lot of time on his knees waiting upon God for help. People who believe the Bible to be fiction have never evidently seen miracles in their life, never heard God's voice and never waited on the Lord long enough to see the results of their prayers. 
God is not a Genie; He doesn't dispense money trees or new cars. But He does hear our prayers and he does answer them in His time, not ours. When we are waiting for our answered prayers He works on us and changes us to make us ready for whatever lies ahead. That big job, or a new home, a baby or special person in our life. 
Whatever your prayer, God hears you. 
Listen to Him. He will tell you to be patient and or He will give you something greater than you ever dreamed of. You have only to hang on...wait on the Lord and allow His will to be done.  After all, this maybe your story but it was written by Him.