Sunshine in the Valley

humor and encouragement from my heart to yours

Asking is a good thing!

on February 6, 2010

Isaiah is one of my all-time favorite books. One of its most intriguing stories is the case of Hezekiah asking for- and receiving- 15 more years of life when God had said He would die. To me, it uniquely illustrates the power of prayer: God is sometimes willing to “change His mind” if we are willing to ask! I hesitate to use that phrase, because I believe in the sovereignty of God; yet there are many times in the prophetic books where God Himself says that He accomplished judgment on a city or people because no one asked Him not to!

In the Bible it seems there is a fine line between accepting what God says and sometimes wrestling with Him for a different “verdict”. I think of Jacob wrestling with the angel, Hannah tearfully pleading for a son, God Himself in Ezekiel searching for a man to “stand in the gap” so He would not destroy the land and tragically finding none. Abraham and Moses at various times did stand in the gap and ask God to reverse His judgment to destroy peoples. Paul besought the Lord three times to remove his thorn in the flesh. The Syrophoenecian woman did not stop at the initial rebuff of Jesus. God frequently honored this!

I think it is sometimes a cop-out to sit back and say “ah well, God’s will be done”. When we are burdened about a matter, we should not be afraid to take hold of God, “come boldly before the throne of grace”, and urgently petition Him. It might be a request for reversal of a “terminal” diagnosis for a sick loved one, or a baby for friends struggling with infertility, or for seemingly-elusive future spouses for yourself or others (lol), or for strong intervention in a disaster (think Haiti!). Or it might just be something “small” in the big scheme of things, yet matters very much to you. Don’t be afraid to get serious with God about it! I am not talking about manipulative prayers, or an “I know what is best here, God” attitude. But truly, I think God delights to hear from His children who seriously take initiative to humbly ask for specifics rather than a timid “well, You just do what You want”. I believe that God wants to give us many more good things than we currently have, but “ye have not because ye ask not”! He is searching for opportunities to “show Himself strong” for His people, and James reminds us that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” As has often been said, prayer is what moves the heart and hand of God!

So why is it so hard for me sometimes to have a consistent prayer life? I get so busy with “stuff” and distracted by things that don’t even matter! There’s nothing wrong with spending time on Facebook, talking to friends, watching movies, puttering around in the kitchen… but I must not neglect that which is most important of all. Getting on my knees before my Father and bringing Him my petitions and burdens and worries makes a huge difference in how I cope with life, and can completely change a seemingly hopeless situation. Because the fact is, life is tough. Things happen that don’t make sense. There are times when I am stretched almost to the breaking point. But God is bigger than all this! That perfect peace which passes understanding will guard my heart and mind through Christ Jesus…. if I will only take the trouble to ask! Sometimes that peace comes unbidden, thank the Lord, but there are many times when it is there for the taking but I don’t even stop long enough to see it! Many times a bad situation could be totally turned around if I would just ask God to do it!

I am preaching to myself here…. thanks, y’all, for listening. :) As Hezekiah so simply put it: “The Lord was ready to save me”… we need only to ask!

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