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Friday, July 1, 2011

Be Careful What You Pray For

This could be a dangerous activity
Have you heard the phrase, “Be careful what you pray for?” I’ve heard it quite a few times and I have to admit it kind of annoys me. But that might be because I don’t like repetitive, unoriginal, cliched phrases of any sort. Or it might be because there is some truth in it. You should be careful what you pray for. Or who you pray for. Here are few examples.

If you tell God that you want to do His will above all us and ask Him not to let you endeavor to anything outside of His will (even if it is not sinful) you might find yourself with few options. Can you be outside the Will of God and not sin? Perhaps. If God calls you to a certain ministry but you are too fearful to leave your 9-5pm job (that He has called you to leave) so you remain idle you are not in God’s will. But are you sinning? You remain at your job, you read your Bible, you pray, you take care of your family, you treat people well, you even tithe. You didn’t follow God’s plan, but you’re not sinning. But if you sincerely told the Lord all you want is Him and His Will you might find few options other than the current safe humdrum and the risk of following Him. Many are content to live good, safe lives with an idea of relationship with Christ complete with daily devotionals but have no desire to risk it all for Him and therefore don’t offer to. But what about those who lay their lives before the Lord, who tell them they want to do everything for Him, but when they get the call, they won’t follow through? What happens then. Be careful what you pray for.

We frequently ask God to bring people into our life that need Him, to use us as His vessels, to care for His people through us. I ask Him to make me aware of those who are in need. In seeking this from the Lord God has seemed to put some sort of sign or star or beacon at our house. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve had people come to our door, looking for a ride, a place to sleep, a phone to use, some change for food. Some of these people come into our lives briefly, some of them we are able to continue a relationship with. But it is interesting when they come. There have been more than a few times that I am banging around the house muttering under my breath about something I’m pissed about or frustrated with. I’m usually feeling sorry for myself and am incredibly grumpy. And the doorbell rings. And I am reminded of how blessed I am, I am reminded of how God works and how He can use me. It is incredible how quickly He snaps me out of my own grumpiness and it is incredible how almost always He is able to make our ability to help be about Him. (ie some lady who had been walking for miles need a ride and when we got in my car the Christian radio station was one and she asked if I was a Christian and asked me all about it). I long to serve God, to be His light in this world and I ask Him for the opportunities to do so, but in asking this I have to be willing to have my life interuppted by and for Him. I have to be willing to change what I'm doing for the next few minutes, few hours, few days, few months to following His heading. I asked to be more aware of His needy ones, I asked Him to call me to them; the answers to such prayers don't come with a stipulation of convience. Be careful what you pray for.

Then there are the people who love to pray for others. Who when they know others are struggling and in need of help, even people they are very close to, go straight to praying for them without offering any real assistance. Now I know that prayer is powerful and helpful but in some situations the Spirit is calling you to act and not pray; in some situations action is necessary and prayer is almost a waste of limited time. But if you are praying for someone who is in need in one way or another, are you willing to be the answer to that prayer? If you are praying for someone, if you know of a brother's need, but don't follow the heading to actually put to action any help I believe God will hold you responsible for that. I believe if you aren't willing to act than it would be better not to pray for those in need. In our conversations with God we need to be able to listen and obey along with our seeking and petition.

What do you think? Should we be careful what we pray for? Do you think there are some who would rather pray and never hear or see a real answer to their prayers? What is the longest you've had a guest stay/live in your home?

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