Sunday, September 25, 2011

Two-Handed Praying

We’re all familiar with Jesus words: “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it.”

Yet, eventually, we all come up against the uncomfortable truth that God doesn’t always do what we ask Him to do.
When that happens, some of us get mad at God and stop talking to Him entirely. We figure we’ll teach Him a lesson by giving Him the silent treatment.

Others of us don’t walk away from Him entirely, but we do stop praying for things we want and need, and for Him to do anything in and through us. He’d likely say no, anyway, we think, because He seems to like giving us only hard things. So we keep walking alongside Him, but all communication has ceased.
Some of us want to keep praying, but we’re so confused by God’s methods that we play it safe. We pray only for things that are within the realm of our imaginations. We don’t ask for much...and we don’t get much in return.

I suggest we continue to pray... but to exercise two-handed praying.
With one open hand, we must continue to ask God for what we need... and want.

The Bible book of James says, “You don’t have because you don’t ask.”
Jesus summed up at least one of His parables with, “You should always pray, and not give up.”

The Bible also says, “Nothing is impossible with God.”
Only God knows (literally) the things He’d like to give us, or do in us, or in the lives of others...but He hasn’t – because we haven’t asked.

So we should pray for things we need and want, good things we want God to do. We must ask, ask big, and keep on asking.
With the other open hand, we pray in surrender.

Jesus also taught us to pray: “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
Later, on His way to the cross, He begged His Father to let Him escape the agony ahead. But then, “Not My will but Yours be done.”

Yes, we must pray in surrender, letting God do what He wants and accepting that His ways are better and wiser than ours.
But we must not surrender without asking! Surrendering without asking is resignation, which quickly creates a cold, hard heart.

And we must also not ask without surrendering! Asking without surrender is acting like a spoiled child, demanding God give us everything we ask for, claiming we know best.
But when we pray with two hands, open hands, we ask great things from a good God...and we trust Him to do what’s best.

We see Him do amazing things in response to bold prayers.
We hear Him say “No” in ways we realize are the very best.

We also trust Him to be good, to give and to do good things.
And we trust Him to lovingly withhold what is not-the-best.

So let’s have no more one-handed praying.
No more closed or selfish hearts.

Two open hands.
Ask and surrender.

Watch and see what God will do.

-- Reenie
Thanks to JH for helping me clarify the points in this post.

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