It's probably a good idea, midway through this series, to pause and think about God's providence. I'm a five-point TULIP, after all [only because I think that Scripture teaches that God is ;) ]. God's sovereignty will prevail. But our prayers usually reflect the ideal. We pray for safety and sound health. We pray for salvation of loved ones. We pray for provision. We pray for ourselves, our spouses, and our children to always choose the right thing.
Yet often, God answers 'no.'
We get sick or hurt.
We see loved ones die in their sins.
We can't seem to make the paycheck stretch the length of the month.
We fail; our spouses fail; our children fail.
So why bother? God already has a Plan, and we must admit we are largely ignorant of It.I was thinking about this and all the time I spend in prayer and the times that God has said, "No." It's tempting to just throw in the towel sometimes. But then, as if on cue, I read a quote by John Calvin on this very topic two days ago.
It may appear that there is a disconnect between the requests we present to God with thanksgiving and the way He answers those requests. Calvin sheds light on this dichotomy:
If, for example, a person desire to see the Church in a calm and flourishing condition, if he wish that the children of God were delivered from afflictions, that all superstitions were removed out of the world, and that the rage of wicked men were so restrained as to do no injury. These things, being in themselves right, may properly be desired by believers, though it may please God to order a different state of matters: for He chooses that His Son should reign among enemies, that His people should be trained under the Cross, and that the triumph of faith and of the Gospel should be rendered more illustrious by the opposing machinations of Satan.
We see how these prayers are holy, which seem to be contrary to the will of God; for God does not desire us to be always exact or scrupulous in inquiring what He has appointed but allows us to ask what is desirable according to the capacity of our senses. (From Heaven He Came and Sought Her, Gibson, p.105)
Why do we pray to a Sovereign God? In short, because He told us to.
And because there are many times when He graciously says, "Yes."
Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name
Where are we today? Who are we with? Reminded that, in this digital age, we can interact with the world via facebook, twitter, linkedin, google plus, and the blogosphere. Anywhere we go, can they tell you value Jesus by the way we rep His name?
Your Kingdom come
After the last election, I blogged what I pray for our government. Every Wednesday, I pray for our president, Congress, and the Supreme Court. I remember that if God can turn the hearts of kings, he can turn the hearts of politicians, too. Here is my list of Wednesday prayers for all three branches of government.
Your Will be done.
On Wednesdays, I pray for physical health for Brett, the kids, and myself. I ask the Lord for healthy bones, blood, muscles, skin, organs.
On Wednesdays, I pray for the blessing of the breast and the womb. That may sound odd, but it is the way Jacob blessed Joseph in Genesis 49. Years ago, an older lady who was teaching a Sunday school class exhorted us younger women to crave that blessing. And I have prayed it ever since, not only over my own household but also over the future households of my children. I pray that my children will be blessed with children, fertility, strong pregnancies, safe deliveries, and healthy babies.
And I pray for general safety in their comings and goings.
(I also want to pause here to give some thoughts on healing and how I've changed over the years. When I was a newer parent, we'd pray over every little bump and scratch the kids got that God would heal them. Now, I pray thanksgiving with them that fevers are attacking the sickness, that blood does clot, that scabs are God's bandaids, that bumps and bruises are the body rushing to defend the sight of a wound, that throwing up and diarrhea are the body's enemies exiting the body. I think that makes God big to our kids. I think it gives Him glory when we point out that some of the things we perceive as maladies are actually the fearful and wonderful way God made the body to heal itself. Let's pray with thanksgiving for all the ways we are fearfully and wonderfully made, in addition to praying for what's genuinely broken.)
Give us this day our daily bread:
On Wednesdays, I pray for specific needs we have. Currently, for instance, we need to replace some furniture that looks like it's been rode hard and put away wet. Know what I mean? These needs can change from week to week. But it's a reminder to me that God is our provider. And He will meet every need, even if it's not in my timeframe.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Examine myself over the past day, confess, repent. Forgive.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
Go down the list of kids and Brett and me. Protect us out there in that big, bad world.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory.
Next up, praying Thursday...