Praying in generalities is safe, but ‘safe’ isn’t what praying’s for.
“I’ll be praying for you and the situation.”
“But I haven’t told you much about what the situation is.”
“Oh, that’s okay–God knows.”
On the surface, that’s true. God does know. He also wants us to know He knows the most minute, intimate details; so God’s designed this whole thing to include you and I as active participants in seeing His answers play out.
The only way to recognize God’s answers is to be watching for them.
The only way to be watching for them is to know the specific issues and challenges relating to our prayer interests.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one:
“And God, bless all the missionaries. Amen.”
You didn’t stop me. Really? I know you’ve heard it, or one like it.
“Well, at least they’re praying.”
True. The problem with that? How do you know when God answers that prayer? Which missionary? Where? How do you want Him to bless ’em?
Once again–praying in generalities is safe, but ‘safe’ isn’t what praying’s for.
The more you know about someone else’s situation, plight and specific challenges and needs, the quicker you’ll know when God’s on the move in response.
It didn’t take us humanoids long to recognize that as self-assured and opinionated as we are, things happened way beyond our ability to handle. Genesis 4:26 relates how Seth, one of Adam’s sons, had a son–and at that time men began to pray to God.
Uh, NO-uh…. I do not think we began to pray because the baby was a boy. Keep up.
“Well, how do you know they were praying to God?”
Fair question. Whose son was Enosh? Adam’s, right? Don’t you suppose Adam taught all three of his sons about the Creator God who used to walk with him in the Garden? About this amazing God who banished The Adams Family from the gorgeous park because they couldn’t wait to jam Him up and see how many rules they could break?
If you had a lesson like that, would you be able to keep from using it with your kids? ” ‘Ay! You know what happened to US because WE didn’t listen! God says to eat your dinner….”
The best thing you can teach your kids is how to pray for themselves, to do it specifically (no matter how tedious hearing about goldfish is), and to realize God’s on the other end of that prayer, listening and prepared to act in response. I believe that many things for which we adults take credit are actually God’s sending His help because of a child’s prayer. It wasn’t our learned eloquence: it was their simple faith.
Romans 8:26-27 says it okay to feel the need to pray but not know what to say or how to say it. Read it. Read it in several different translations. Whaddya mean you don’t have several different translations? Your computer does. So does your iPad, Samsung tablet or smartphone. Just go to www.Biblegateway.com and you’ll find more than you ever knew existed. Those two verses indicate God’s definitely interested in what’s on your heart, even if it won’t fit into words. He’ll read it just as if you’d said it.
And don’t EV-ER think your praying isn’t important. Check out Revelation 5:6-10; look what those elders are holding. Then go over to 8:1-6 and see what’s done with it. Don’t EV-er think your praying is worthless.
YOU HAVE NO IDEA . . .
Pardon? Oh. Sure, I could just print those all out here for you. But you’d find less value than if you put out a little effort, turn to them and read them for yourself.
“M’kay. So details are for praying. Drop the other shoe. Those dots mean…”
They mean, “NOT GOSSIPIN’.” You need to add that to the end of the sentence.
But that’s for another time.
A healthy adult consumes each year one-and-one-half times his own weight in other people’s patience. – Unknown
© D. Dean Boone, September 2015