Recently I was listening to John Maxwell online. He said something that started a fire in my heart as it relates to this fast we are on. He was teaching that in the bible miracles didn’t happen because someone had amazing faith, they didn’t happen because someone was even praying for them…they just happened because God saw a problem and knew he had an answer.
Can I tell you that rearranged my thinking about the things I’m praying about over the next few weeks. The truth is that where there’s a problem, God’s got an answer. So I started to think about all the problems I am facing or others I love. As I thought about each problem I realized I had put them unintentionally in categories. See if you can relate…
The unimportant category
These were all the problems that I felt like weren’t really big enough to waste God’s time on. They were small and seemingly insignificant, and when it really comes down to it either I can figure it out on my own or if it goes untouched that’s okay too. Just not a big deal.
God could and would handle category
This is the category I stuck all the problems I thought God did care about and really would do something about in. You know the ones: All the orphans that need homes, the church searching for a new pastor, the sick friend down the road (that you know will get better anyway). Those things that are a bit more urgent but are an easy fix for the most part. Those problems that are too big for you, but still small enough for God to handle. Frankly those problems that you think God is also willing to answer.
God could, but not sure he would category
Let’s face it…this category is the hardest to admit we have. There are so many problems that we know God really could answer, but we just aren’t quite convinced that he actually will. This is where the majority of my problems seem to fall. I truly do believe God has the ability, just not always convinced he has the willingness to answer my problem.
The it’s too big for even God category
Finally there is the problem that is so stinking big that we think even God may not be able to fix it. Sure our theology says God can do anything, but often we encounter those problems once in awhile that we can’t even see how God could fix it. So we don’t even ask. We just give up hope.
I wonder if your categories look anything like mine? The problem with these categories is that in the end we are only asking God for a few of our problems rather than just handing over all of them. I caught myself doing it just today. I have a great need and it needs met very soon, and rather than asking God boldly and getting specific with the problem I have, I instead decided the need wasn’t going to get met and I made other arrangements. Frankly I didn’t even give God the opportunity to say no. What’s that about? At what time did you and I gain the authority to decide what prayers go in what categories? At what time did we get to decide what God could fix and what he couldn’t? Silly isn’t it?
A few years back we had our son Jase. At the time we only had one vehicle and we were rapidly outgrowing it. On a long trip my husband looked at me and said, “we need a new van.” To which I promptly responded, “there’s no way we can afford it.” We argued on for a few minutes each pleading our own case. Then I said, “well we do need a van, but we don’t have the money so we could just ask God for a free one.” I will never forget my husband’s face. My super-spiritual man looked at me and said, “Justeina that’s stupid, God isn’t going to give us a free van.” At that the conversation ended. It was just three short days later that someone showed up at our door step with the keys and title to a new (well new to us anyway) minivan. I broke into tears and couldn’t stop praising my God. He didn’t do it because we are super spiritual. He didn’t do it because we prayed just the right words or had outrageous faith. He just saw we had a problem, we asked him to fix it, and…he did. I still get goose bumps thinking about it.
So recently as always God was faithful to come along and challenge my way of thinking and praying. I remembered Philippians 4:6 which says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” It’s that simple. Prayer isn’t a hard thing at all. It’s doing two things. Telling God about your problem and thanking him for all he does for you. How we’ve complicated it I don’t know. But I’m coming back to the simplicity of prayer. I’m going to just tell God about every problem I face. Big ones. Small ones. Insignificant ones. Larger than life ones. And then leave the results to him.
No more categories. No more figuring it out on my own. Every need I will boldly lift to God and just trust him with the rest. So what about you? Have you complicated your own prayer life? Have you been holding back prayers because you thought the problem was too big? Have you known God was able just not sure if he was willing? Where ever you find yourself, just remember that God asks we pray about everything. So today make a list of your problems you face and begin to turn them over to him. I don’t know what his answer will be, I promise he’s got one; and you can trust him with that answer.
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