This is my second post in the Write 31 Days series. While it’s only my second time posting, I promise I’ve written everyday- it’s just not always shareable. I hand-wrote most of today’s post yesterday, but rainy Saturday naps and college football distracted me from physically posting. Oops, sorry about that.
I have to admit that I’m one of those Christians who struggles to see the point of prayer sometimes. I understand it from a theoretical standpoint and I practice it from a standpoint of asking the Lord to show me things like how to respond to something or someone, what steps to take, etc. But when it comes to the petitioning part of prayer- asking God to change something or someone, I usually stop short.
If I’m being honest (and it a blog series about that) I struggle with the philosophical implications of this sort of prayer. Acts 17:26-28 has always been a favorite passage of scripture for me and brings me comfort.
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth: and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that man would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being.
I love this verse, especially during seasons of transition. It tells me that I shouldn’t be paralyzed by indecision and something that takes me by surprise doesn’t surprise God. He knew before my parents were born that I would be and where I would live and for how long. That’s really comforting to me.
But this is the rub for me and prayer. The Lord already knows how the situations I might pray about or ask for change in are going to play out. I’ve always landed on “so what’s the point?” if I’m just being honest.
Today I was reading in Genesis and read the story in Genesis 18: 16-33 where Abraham is pleading that the Lord wouldn’t destroy Sodom. Abraham turns into a pesky little five year old pestering God about not taking his wrath out on Sodom. I read this and was sort of embarrassed for Abraham, but then I noticed, that God wasn’t annoyed. Not only that, but Abraham’s prayers mattered in the scope of the outcome. God basically says, “well since you asked, ok.”
For some reason, though I’ve read this passage before, it felt like something clicked. In the end, God still destroyed Sodom. But he saved Lot first, which was the heart behind Abraham’s asking. I think that prayer, asking God to move in a seemingly immovable situation, also helps us align our hearts to his a little more. Relationships, whether with people or God, require communication, question asking and vulnerability. When I shirk the opportunity to beg God to move I’m closing the door on that relationship.
Our prayers for things that seem too big, or too immovable matter. They influence the outcome. And maybe part of the plan from the beginning was in our- yours and my- asking. God welcomes our asking. And he’s not annoyed when we ask over and over and over again. He welcomes our questions and out discomfort and our begging.