The Challenge of Talking to God
Jesus' disciples asked him how to pray. Here are a few things he told them:
Ask for what you need. We don't understand everything about prayer, but it appears that God wants us to acknowledge our dependence upon him. And he wants us to ask every day. There are no standing orders when it comes to prayer. Each day we are to ask God for what we need.
Confess your sins, accept your forgiveness from God, and then forgive others who have sinned against you. This is one of the most difficult parts of the challenge. Sometimes we avoid God because we want to avoid the truth about our lives. However, God knows how we are made, he knows us better than we know ourselves, and there is no hiding from God. Confess, be forgiven, and forgive others.
Accept that sometimes God will put you to the test. God will test you to see if you really trust him. It's easy to flail about, to seek something other than God when life gets difficult. It's easy to succumb to the temptation to turn to something other than God when God seems slow in responding. Don't do it. Keep the faith. Trust in God.
Then there is the toughest prayer you will ever pray: Thy will be done. We pray it for the whole world, that the Creation might be what God intended it to be. We pray it for our lives, when it becomes apparent that what God intends for us is different from what we wished. Of course, God's will is going to be done. God is sovereign. For us to accept reality, and accept God's plan, is the toughest prayer you will ever pray.
Then there is the question of who benefits from our prayers. We do, of course. We pray for the outcomes and the attitudes and the faith that make our lives better. God also benefits from our prayers. God's name is glorified when we pray. In our prayers, we specifically ask God to see that his name is glorified.
All that we have discussed in this blog in summarized in one little prayer Jesus taught: the Lord's Prayer. We will talk about it on Sunday, as we look at the challenge of talking to God.