Monday, January 27, 2014

Portraits of Prayer - Week Seven

This past summer, I wrote a 7-week prayer guide entitled Portraits of Prayer. As I began investigating prayer ministry more deeply this past summer, I realized that over the years, God has already given me an abundance of insight on the subject of prayer. As I reread these insights from past blogs, I was struck at how the progression of insight fell right into place--as if it were a study guide of sorts. Taking those blogs with some additions and rewriting, I wrote Portraits of Prayer and I am happy to have shared it with you here over the last two months. Enjoy!

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Trusting God Beyond the Doubt

Young Man praying
krivenko/Shutterstock.com

digitally altered in Photoshop
The only frame of reference we have to comprehend our relationship with God is through the scope and experience of our human relationships. Jesus taught us to know God as our Heavenly Father. We can learn a lot about God as we look at the human parent/child or husband/wife and even boss/employee relationships, but we can also make the mistake of limiting God to the flawed analogies we use to help us understand and interact with him. We project our human perceptions, thoughts and feelings onto an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent being and then we doubt that God could really love us or would provide for us—his sinful, wayward, prideful creation.

But God did not turn away from us when Adam and Eve chose sin over him and he doesn’t turn away from us now in our own sinfulness. Instead, he stepped down off of his heavenly throne and entered into our frail and fallen existence as a gesture of his desire to be in relationship with us and then died and rose for our sakes opening the door that our sin had shut tight so that the relationship between God and his beloved children would once again be possible.

Sometimes the obstacle in our path to a more spiritually intimate prayer life is not a lack of experience or knowledge but a lack of trust when we are vulnerable. The question isn’t “Has God finally had it with me and my doubts and faithless moments?” but “Do I really trust that he loves me as I am even when I am at my most vulnerable?” With purposeful consideration or by default, we choose which question we ask each time doubt and confusion rises within us. We need to choose to trust God especially when we are most insecure and vulnerable. After all—he’s earned the benefit of the doubt. Not only are we honoring God with our unyielding trust, but we are giving a precious gift to our relationship with him that we don’t want to miss out on.

I’m an open book to you;
    even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
    I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
    before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
    then up ahead and you’re there, too—
    your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
    I can’t take it all in!
Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
    to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
    If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
    to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
    you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
    At night I’m immersed in the light!”
Psalm 139:2-11(The Message)

What would trusting God beyond the doubt look like in your life? In your prayer time? List ten things that God has blessed you with or has done for you. When your vulnerable and doubting God’s steadfast love—think of these things and remind yourself that you can never stray so far away that God won’t be there with you. Spend some time in prayer appreciating God’s unwavering love.

1 comment:

Audrey said...

Thank you Maureen. This is a wonderful post with a wonderful message. I need to make that list and "think on it"!