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A Praying Life, Chapter 24


Chapter 24: "How God Places Himself in the Story" | Week of August 19, 2018

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7–8


REFLECT:

This week's chapter of A Praying Life considers the way in which God sometimes lingers at the edges of our lives rather than instantly inserting himself in the middle. Why would God choose not to be front and center, particularly in hardship? Paul Miller suggests that it is because of our tendency to turn God into some kind of magic genie or prayer vending machine instead of the God who desires relationship with us.

"When we suffer, we long for God to speak clearly, to tell us the end of the story and, most of all, to show himself. But if he showed himself fully and immediately, if he answered all the questions, we'd never grow..." (Page 195) God desires our growth in Christlikeness, but he also desires that we eagerly seek relationship with him. He doesn't merely want to answer our prayers, he wants our hearts to be engaged with him.

As Paul Miller says, "Everyone talks now about how prayer is relationship, but often what people mean is having warm fuzzies with God. Nothing wrong with warm fuzzies, but relationships are far richer and more complex." (Page 192)  

RESPOND:

If you're wrestling with something in your life and feel as though God hasn't shown up in the way you anticipated or desired, is it possible you haven't looked on the edges of the problem for his presence? Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount that "everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds" (Matt. 7:8). However, God sometimes calls us into deserts so that we are stripped of our expectations and become thirsty for his presence. Take a few minutes to consider—and journal, if that's something you do—what it might mean to look for Jesus at work on the edges of your difficult situation.      

PRAY NOW:

Remembering last week's lesson on lamenting well, bring your situation to God and ask for him to help you know where to look for his work in your circumstances. Ask if there's something you're making the center of your life that keeps you from seeing God as he patiently waits for you "on the outskirts." Ask him to quench your thirst for his presence in your life: perhaps by praying Psalm 63.  

PRAY LATER:

Please pray for the safety of our islands as we face another potential hurricane threat this summer. Hawaii has been blessed with relatively little direct impact from hurricanes historically, so we continue to ask God to providentially protect us as Hurricane Lane approaches the islands.   

PRAY AS A FAMILY:

Pray as a family that you will be better aware of God's presence on the edges of your lives this week. We often see when God works in big ways, but just as often miss how he works in small ways. One great way to reinforce this is to share "evidences of God's grace" as a family each night at the dinner table: little ways you saw God at work to protect, bless and grow you.

Tags : prayer, devotional