He often answers before we ask. Have you noticed that? He longs to give us things we never even think to ask for. His desire to give is far greater than our capacity to receive. He wants to meet needs we don’t even know we have. What a God.
It seems to me this raises the question, though, if the above statements are true, of why we pray. I seem to get along pretty well with very little knee-time. In my church it often seems quite routine and I seldom see tongues of fire. So maybe I should just set Him free to do what He wants to do without bothering Him with my instructions.
But I’m convinced that one of the things that happens when we pray is that by doing so we thereby acknowledge that we know we’re not going anywhere on our own. And neither is the church. It’s not willpower. It’s not organization. It’s not talent. It’s not even right theology. It’s Him.
Only the church that is prayer-saturated can possibly fulfill God’s design for that church. We are so in over our heads. We are so out-classed by a cruel enemy. We are so inert in this battle if we use only our own weapons.
We do hit-and-run prayers and wonder at our incremental growth. We treat prayer like a drive-through window and are surprised that our best efforts result in a malnourished congregation. We struggle to get beyond the “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayers and wonder that we can’t stay awake through the sermon.
My plea today is that we get honest with God and admit that Jesus was absolutely correct when He told us that without Him we can do nothing. God, we’re not here to ask favors of a Stranger; we don’t seek Your hand, we seek Your face. We don’t ask for Your gifts, but we do want to know Your heart. And we want to know our own hearts because that drives us to our knees before You. Dear God, please deliver us from the idolatry of anemic prayer. Of spasmodic prayer. Of prayer that is not fervent. Of prayer that is not high priority.
Teach us, God; do whatever it takes…humble us…embarrass us…shake us. But teach us. The task is too great, our own resources too slender. Bring us to repentance from our attitude of let’s-suck-it-up-and-do-this. We can’t.