Friday, October 21, 2022

A New Way of Praying

Hey Friend,

Even as a child I was a bit of a worrywart. Are you a kindred spirit? My mother would say, “There you go again, putting the cart before the horse.” I always wanted to know what was coming so that I could be prepared. Desperately seeking to control is symptomatic of living in fear and not trust. In this case, getting ahead of myself was not a good thing, but when it comes to praying and persevering, I am learning that I need to thank God, in advance, for what He is going to do.


Yes, we are to be grateful to God, after the fact, to thank Him for our blessings, but we are compelled to practice a new way of praying. God invites us to come boldly before His throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). We know God will answer when we call on Him. The Bible reassures us of this over and over again. Therefore, we ought to thank Him for the answer that He is going to give. God wants us to wait expectantly for His answer.


Maybe you have been praying and waiting patiently, i.e., enduring, suffering, persevering, and wondering if the Lord is really going to show up? Is that you today? Is it possible to wait expectantly and wait patiently? From firsthand experience, I know the answer to this question is, “yes.” Just as joy and pain can coexist, so can we wait expectantly and with patience marked with endurance and suffering. Hold fast and know His grace is more than sufficient to see you through.


I grew up in the South Hills of Pittsburgh and the only way to get from my home into the city was to go through a long, dark tunnel fondly referred to, by locals, as the Fort Pitt Tubes. While zooming at high speed, through the dark, claustrophobic tunnel, you get antsy to reach the light at the other side. It’s a hair-raising stretch to travel. I often found myself holding my breath wondering, how much longer until I get to the end of this blasted tunnel?

At the very moment when my knuckles grew white from clenching the steering wheel, and my face turned bluish from lack of oxygen, when my patience was spent, it was then I’d shoot out into the awesome expanse of sunlight. In a flip-of-the-switch sunrise, the glistening buildings of the city burst onto the horizon. Simultaneously I’d gulp in air, relax my clenched fingers, and see the breathtaking beauty that I thought would never come.


How do you know that you aren’t in that split second before the glorious end of your tunnel? Perhaps the answer to your prayer upon prayer is up ahead but just hasn’t happened yet. Maybe the pink-hewn sunrise is on the other side of the dark, moonless night. God has a way of surprising us when we least expect it. Often the answer lies just around the next bend, but we need to hang on to see what God’s love has in store for us. We need to trust Him. It’s imperative that we believe in what is unseen.


“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV)


God answers prayers in a multitude of ways. I’ve experienced many “God-winks.” These are answers to prayers that we haven’t even prayed — like when God surprises us with a rainbow at the end of a violent storm, or the person in front of you in the coffee shop drive-through pays for your coffee. God says, “I love you and I’m for you,” even when we didn’t ask. Have you ever barely had a prayer pass over your lips and God is already answering it? It’s an answer to prayer that reinforces the fact God knew what you were going to ask even before your mind formed the words. Those are, what I call, the “instantaneous answers.”


More often than not, we put in endless days and nights — many, filled with tears. We are brought to the end of ourselves and to the point of giving up. We wait patiently (enduring, suffering) with virtually nothing to show for our effort. These are the prayers of the persevering heart. God loves you and longs to draw near to comfort you in the waiting.


“I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.”  (John 14:18 KJB)


Like the Good Shepherd who goes after the lost sheep, though the way is long and hard and uphill, He’ll persevere too. He knows where His sheep are, and He will find the way to them. He will find the way to you. This gives us the hope we need to continue pressing on. Just as the lost sheep may be right over the next hill, your answer to prayer may be as well. 

What  about you? Have you ever tried thanking God, in advance, for the sovereign way He is going to answer your prayer? Do you find it hard to wait patiently and expectantly at the same time? Is there a person or a situation you'd like me to pray for -- feel free to leave a first name or initials in the Comments and I would be honored to pray for who or what is weighing on your heart.

Be blessed...

ps. If you've enjoyed what you've read, here, today, might you want to Subscribe to my almost weekly blog posts (and nothing else). Leave your contact info in the SUBSCRIBE box above and be sure to check your email inbox (spam filter too) in order to click on the confirmation link. Thanks for reading...