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How Should We Pray?

We have been talking this week about learning to trust God in all things, instead of always trying to be in control ourselves. We are never going to achieve perfection by our own efforts, and seldom if ever are we able to make any lasting change in people around us. When we face the difficulties in life that every single one of us faces, our first and best response is not to take control, but to run to God in prayer, and allow Him to take charge of our circumstances.

There is one other thing we need to understand, however. It is very important that we learn HOW to pray. Too many times, we make our prayers all about US: what we want God to do for us, or how we want Him to take care of this situation or this person. We sometimes act as if God is some kind of cosmic vending machine: we insert our prayer and He gives us the answer we’ve chosen.

But our God is not a vending machine, just there to give us whatever we request. His ways are always perfect, and nothing touches us that He does not allow. He alone knows the motives behind other people’s actions. He knows why we are in the midst of this difficulty or why we are suffering this circumstance.

When we pray, “God, what am I supposed to do?” or “Show me what I should do, Lord”, we are demonstrating that our faith is still based on ourselves, on our own actions. How much wiser we would be to pray “Father, what are YOU going to do in this situation?” The we are walking by faith, surrendering our own desires to His, and allowing Him to be in control.

Jesus should always be our example. Even when faced with a gruesome and undeserved death, He made His request known, but then finished with “Father, not my will but Thine be done”. With that prayer, He surrendered his own will, and demonstrated His faith that God was in complete control.

There is nothing wrong with telling God what we desire in any circumstance, but then we have to learn to leave our request in God’s loving hands, and trust that He will work it all out for our good and His glory. (See Romans 8:28)

I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my
fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Psalm 91:2


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