Monday, December 12, 2005

Genie in a Bottle

How many of you watched the Weavers on The Amazing Race this season? If you have, I think you'll understand my incessant need to apologize for their "praciticing" of the "Christian" faith. They upset me to the point of yelling "shut-up! shut-up! shut-up!" at the tv screen. Why? They use their faith in God as a pity card (ex. "they just hate us because we're Christian" "we'll get our reward in heaven and those cows over there will just suffer"), they use prayer like it's a Genie in a bottle "Dear Lord please let us beat this team" "dear lord let us find this so we can beat the despearate housewives"), and they twist and turn the idea of "thy will be done" into "It's God's will that we're in this race and that we're winning".

So, where am I going beyond this ranting about the Weavers? Well, seeing them in action and some other discussion over one of my past posts about prayer has got me to thinking about what I believe about the power of prayer. So, before you read on...

DISCLAIMER: You may not agree, you may think that I'm blaspheming (though I hope not), but I hope that I have some valid points about where I stand (and don't forget that it may change as I learn and grow in my faith) that being said....

On Prayer:
Apparently a little ... makes for a little controversy. This I did not know. I'll also admit that I don't know exactly how God works and why He works the way He does.

I DO KNOW however, that God has answered my prayers. Does this mean that I think God is a Genie in a bottle bent on fulfilling every whim and fancy of my heart? Of course not. Sometimes God answers the way I want. Most of the time he answers in a way that is far better for me.

I do however, think God notices passion and that he notices those who pray fervently for something. (Matthew 26:53, Matthew 21:21-22, Ephesians 3:14, Hebrews 4:15) God has been noted for changing his mind in the Bible. :) (Isaiah 38:2-5)

Example: A child asks his father for a puppy. The dad says no... that it's too much work. The child continues asking and asking, and checks out a book from the school library about puppy care. The father notices and even though he knows it isn't the right time, he gives the child a puppy. Was the father planning on giving the child a puppy? Maybe not then. But he did it because the child asked and because the child was passionate and persistent.

I think God is like that father and will give us what we ask for even if it's not what He had in mind for us. Let me make this distinction however, I still believe that it is God in His grace and love for us that had mercy and said yes to our prayer. He says "I know that this isn't the right time for this, but becase I love you, because you are asking, I will give it to you".

When the child has to hunt for the puppy that ran off in the middle of the night because they forgot to close the kennel they'll realize "Dad was right... maybe I'm not ready for a puppy".

The same is with us.

We can pray for a porsche, a gorgeous spouse and three perfect children, BUT, when we're making $700 million car payments a month or bemoaning the lack of time that we want to spend with Mr. McDreamy or missing out on our children's first step, I think we'll realize that "hmmm, maybe God was right about this not being the right time."

I know that it's not because I pray that I get what I want. It's because God loves me He gives me more than I need.

I do know that we are called to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). I do know that as we mature in our walk with God our prayers will mature as well--that we will begin to pray that God does his will in our lives. (What's God's will for my life? That's another post another time)

I do know that we are called to pray. I will continue to do just that and that I will continue to "pray passionately and keep knocking"; resting comfortably in the fact that God hears, that he answers, and that it's in His grace and in His mercy that he does both.

Thanks to the very lovely spoda who helped me sort through the mess in my head as well as B, Mike and Kristi ;).