Gathering Together

      The Day My Theology Changed About Prayer

 

For the past month (since Daylight Savings Time began) my internal alarm clock has been going off between 3 and 5 a.m. Not too long ago it went off around 4:30. There were some important items I started to discuss with God, not earth shattering situations, but concerns that I felt compelled to address. That’s when the thought of all of those suffering throughout the world kicked in. The tragedies are inconceivable………..and that’s when my theology of, “God Is Much Better Than Me….in theory” kicked in. The rational goes something like this:

God: “Ernie, you think you have problems and concerns, have you considered what others all around the world are going through?”

Ernie: “God, you’re right. I’m just feeling sorry for myself. Never should have brought it up. I’ll bring up these concerns when the world settles down a bit. Sorry for my selfish, self-pity prayer request.”

But in reality, I would never practice that theology with my daughters………

Krissy/Valerie: “Daddy, my stomach hurts. Can you fix me some lunch? He broke my heart. I lost my job. …..”

Ernie as Dad: “Girls, you think you have problems and concerns, have you considered what those folks all over the world are going through? You want lunch? Do you know how many people around the world have nothing to eat…….?”

Krissy/Valerie: “I’m sorry daddy, you’re right. I’m just thinking of myself. …..But my stomach still hurts, I’m still hungry, my heart is still breaking……”

I would never respond to my daughters in that way because of so many others who are worse off. Neither do I believe, does God. And to believe such a thing is to submit to, “God Is Much Better Than Me….in theory, theology.”…………..here’s what scripture says,

In Luke chapter 11 Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them how to pray……..and he did (Luke 11:1-4). And then he said this (be persistent in prayer 11:5-8)….and encouraged them like this (ask, seek, knock, 11:9-10)………and then he said this, my paraphrase of 11:11-13 which is known as the greater/lesser comparison between God and people:

“If your child is hungry and asks for a sandwich are you going to throw him a rubber bone? If you as a parent would take care of your child, and in comparison to me, you’re evil……….HOW MUCH MORE do you think I will respond to prayer…….and then scripture says this, “And give the Holy Spirit to those who ask me? Come on, Ernie, Get a grip!”

Someone once said, “Our problem is that we do not take ourselves seriously enough to believe we have that much influence on the One who created the universe.” I mean, isn't it striking how Jesus assumed that the Holy Spirit is the ultimate gift to be desired and received?

AND SO TODAY I RENOUNCE my old theology and now practice and believe, “God Is Much Better Than Me………IN PRACTICE.”……………and you know what? I went before the throne of Grace this morning……….and guess what? He let me in and we had a wonderful chat. Chat, in Greek, that’s the word for prayer, sort of, kind of……..we had a wonderful prayer/chat. Amen.

"And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. "You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him." (Luke 11:9-11)

 by Ernie Heavin