The purpose of the prayer of petition is not that God would hear our cries and answer our prayers immediately in the affirmative. Rather, our prayers of petition ought to be for a hope to meet the demands of, and maybe transcend, the current tumultuous hour.
When we realise that requiring our prayers answered is actually a bargaining of God, which doesn’t work, we refuse to do go there, and instead prefer to meekly come to the end of ourselves so we can enter a realer, truth-honouring beginning — a truer hope.
Our plights, whatever they are, are what they are.
God won’t manoeuvre our lives to accede to our wish to be more comfortable. It’s just not how God works. Anyone who has lived a life of faith for even a short time should know that. This is not pessimistic, just realistic, putting a cap on optimism.
It doesn’t stop us from wishing our dreams would come true. We cannot stop hoping our dreams would come true. We ought to accept this. God knows our heart’s desires. And we can trust God to advance us toward realising our dreams. But we cannot go ahead of God, not if we want to stay sane.
Yet we inevitably do still get frustrated and even exasperated. And with frustration and exasperation there is a purpose — God’s purpose. He graciously allows us to make the choice when we’ve had enough of frustration and exasperation, to submit to His will.
When we come to the end of ourselves, we’re ready to come back to the beginning of life — God. Accept life as it is, happily, this moment, and we live a Kingdom reality.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.