29. Resolved, never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession, which I cannot hope God will accept.
Drowsiness. Eighty different distractions. Impatience to get a move on, to start checking items off of the day's to do list....
So often these are my companions in times of prayer. Instead of being still and delighting in His fellowship, I struggle to keep my eyes open. To keep my mind alert and sober. To patiently sit at His feet, like Mary.
The root of the problem is that I forget Who it is I'm talking to. Do I really believe that I'm in the presence of Almighty God? Does my heart in faith remember that He is longing to hear and to answer the petitions I make as His child?
Another prayer rut I stumble into is making rote requests, because praying is what I'm supposed to do, right? The issues that trouble me, struggles I'm facing, pressing needs I have, all make their way into my prayers... but am I really asking Him, really believing that He is capable of supplying my needs, and that He will answer, one way or another?
This week I found myself in the book of James.
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." James 1:5-8 ESV
Jonathan Edwards was committed to thoughtful, sincere, and faith-backed prayer. He did not want to pray without the hope and confidence that God would answer and accept him.
This kind of praying isn't going to just happen as I sit drowsily and distracted in devotions. It isn't found in the thoughtless, rote prayers I offer without expecting any response from the Almighty.
If left to myself, focused and faith-filled prayer would be a lost cause. Praise God He has not left us to ourselves!
He has richly offered us His Word, packed with prayers and insights to His character. He has given us His Holy Spirit, who intercedes for us when we don't know how to pray. And He has given us His Son, who daily lives to make intercession for us. Oh, how we need Christ!
By His grace, I want to endeavor after such a prayer life. I want to taste the sweetness of His fellowship, to offer my prayers boldly in faith at His throne of grace. I want to see Him moving and answering and working, and offer my sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving as a result.
Will you join me in endeavoring after this 29th Resolution?