Friday, December 09, 2005

Why Bother to Pray?

I know one of the issues I struggled with when I became a reformed Christian is the issue of prayer. If God predestines, or is sovereign over all, then why bother to pray? I now understand a tad bit more that prayer is a summons to trust God more in my life, and an opportunity for intimate fellowship with God. Spurgeon in my devotional today puts it rather well I think. What about unanswered prayer he asks?

Therefore the Lord Waits to be Gracious to You
Isaiah 30:18
God often delays in answering prayer. We have several instances of this in the Bible. Jacob did not get the blessing from the angel until near the dawn of day-he had to wrestle all night for it. The poor woman of Syrophoenicia received no answer for a long while. Paul asked the Lord three times for "a thorn . . . in the flesh"1 to be taken from him, and he received no assurance that it would be removed, but instead a promise that God's grace would be sufficient for him. If you have been knocking at the gate of mercy and have received no answer, shall I tell you why the mighty Maker has not opened the door and let you in? Our Father has personal reasons for keeping us waiting. Sometimes it is to show His power and His sovereignty, so that we may learn that God has a right to give or to withhold. More often the delay is for our benefit. You are perhaps kept waiting in order that your desires may be more fervent. God knows that delay will quicken and increase desire, and that if He keeps you waiting, you will see your need more clearly and will seek more diligently, and that you will treasure the mercy all the more on account of the wait. There may also be something wrong in you that needs to be removed before the joy of the Lord is given. Perhaps your views of the gospel plan are confused, or you may be relying upon yourself instead of trusting simply and entirely in the Lord Jesus. Or God makes you wait for a while so that He may display the riches of His grace more abundantly in the end. Your prayers are all filed in heaven, and if not immediately answered they are certainly not forgotten, but in a little while they will be fulfilled to your delight and satisfaction. Do not allow despair to make you silent, but continue to present your requests to God.


At 9:46 PM, Blogger jane said...

What a great quote! I've been wrestling with these very issues (purpose of petition when God has it all planned out and waiting for his answers to prayer).

Back to your comment on Phil's blog. Pt. Reyes is indeed a beautiful place--too bad it's so spiritually bankrupt. But even though I'm live an oppressive area, I am grateful to be surrounded by God's beauty. But it's interesting how the most beautiful places (geographically) tend to be them most godless.

At 7:56 AM, Blogger candyinsierras said...

I understand what you are saying about geographical areas being the most godless. Of course, you are in the Bay about a diverse population!! We used to be Podunk City when I was growing up but now we have the dubious honor of Burning Man every year out in desolate Black Rock Desert. Ahem..we also have half of California moving here. :)


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