Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pray Without Ceasing: Don't Flirt With Disaster

     "Pray without ceasing," 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

     Today as I was driving my route truck down a dusty gravel road in south central Nebraska, I heard a sports talk show host incredulously ask why people would pray for an athlete's contract negotiation.  He remarked that he wouldn't go into detail regarding his religious views yet his dogma's showed forth despite his foggy pronouncement.  He was reading a Buddhist book and remarked that he kept his prayer life focused on his families health and the well being of those in the midst of disastrous occurrences. 
     We see this elitist incredulity pop up often this time of year as camera's will glance at large men, all geared up, sitting in a circle and praying before and/or after a game.  These folks will banter about why God would care who won a football game when there are earthquakes, wars and famines all over the world!  The aforementioned sports talker cajoled that, "these people(who pray for players contract negotiation) are probably the type who pray for kitties!"  Yep, I pray for my dog, I would pray for a cat too if we had one.  But, we must ask, are these elitist's correct?  Does God have more important things to worry about than football stuff, kitties and dogs?
     Well, yes He doesn't!  There are people scattered around our globe suffering beyond what we can imagine and people living right in your neighborhood who are in desperate condition.  God can handle them. In fact, God may use us as an instrument of mercy in their life.  Yet, the question reveals a lot about the questioner's  faith.  They have a deficient view of God and a complete misunderstanding of the Christian life at the very least.  Their view of God seems to indicate that they believe in a less than all powerful deity.  They seem to think that God only has time and or energy to deal with the really, really big stuff.  We can handle the small stuff on our own.    We don't want to overload poor, kind of powerful God.  We are strong ourselves and can do some of the lighter lifting, allowing God to do the really heavy stuff.  This view shrinks God and elevates man.  God owns the the cattle on a thousand hills(understatement) and spoke the universe into existence.  I don't even own the house on our hill and I speak my ignorance into infamy daily.  God can handle anything...anything.  Me on the other hand, I'm a fairly impotent little man.
     Even more, this question reveals that those who ask it do not understand the Christian life(or the Gospel itself) at all.  "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God and His peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus," Philip. 4:6-7.  We are to "pray without ceasing".  How is this done if we do not pray about the situation at hand, whether it is a football game, a hurting neighbor, an election, a hurt toe or any number of other random, normal occurrences that present themselves daily.  A Christian's life is to be marked by prayer.  How did Daniel's enemies trap him?  They set him up so that his righteousness, particularly his fervent prayer life, would get him thrown into the Lion's den.  Nehemiah prayed silently to God and requested a great favor from King Xerxes at the same time!  Who said that men cannot multitask!  Prayer to a Christian should be a continuous conversation with God.  It is a relationship and God does not want us to take our eyes off of him.  When a brother/sister has an issue, tell them you'll pray for them...and do it, now, and then again later.  If your car is making weird noises, ask for God's help.  It would seem to be an easy enough problem for Him.  Is there such a thing as a big problem for God?  His answer isn't always our desire(it should be) but we must learn to turn to Him on all occasions, with fervency and humility.  Even if it is for your kitty. 
     God bless you all and learn, live and love the Gospel!

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