"I don't think there would be so many books on prayer
if we weren't struggling in this area. "
There are these little moments in time, when you can fully acknowledge and own your sin either to God, others, or both, that somehow He just shows up and gives you the way out. (1 Corinthians 10:13) And that way out is so simple you would have missed it completely, had it not arrived in a huge box, with a great, big bow, and a tag with your name in bold letters.
For months now I have been aware of the fact that I am struggling with a major disconnect in my walk with Christ. For the life of me, I had no clue where the problem was rooted. Yesterday I wrote about John 5:39-40 which was the first true glimpse I was given into it this past summer. Knowing I was looking for Jesus through the Scriptures and still missing Him terrified me to no blessed end because (1) I didn't know that was possible to do and (2) I didn't have the foggiest of ideas on how to fix it. Oh but God. When the student is ready, the Teacher most definitely appears.
This moring my reading had me in Matthew 6 that focuses heavily on doing the good things in secret knowing God sees them and that He will reward them. Right before Jesus teaches the Lord's prayer He says, "for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him." I turned that over and over in my head realizing there was something there.
Yesterday when I was talking to my husband about prayer, I mentioned that things seemed to be getting 'easier' (although that's not the right word) since we all started getting more intentional about prayer. And while it would be easy to deny just how lacking my prayer life really was, I suspect I'm not the only one. Because if we all prayed the way we should, I think we'd be seeing a lot more impact in our tiny little circles. Just sayin'.
As I continued to roll this around in my head, God brought a thought to my heart that almost literally took my breath away. When Hezekiah got his letter from Sennacherib, what did he do? (he layed it out on a table and prayed to God) When Mary didn't know what to do when she found out she was pregnant, what did she do? (she prayed) When David was caught in all his mess? (yep, he prayed) When Jesus was ready to be handed over to the authorities? (again, prayed) I could go on but you get the point. Do you notice what they didn't do? They didn't run to get the scrolls.
I don't know if this will hit anyone else the way it did me, but they turned to God, not to their Bible. (you know what I mean)
Our Bibles are so important. They teach us about God, they help us know what to do, they give us examples of how to live and not live, they give us God's promises, they are His love letter to us because He wants us to live our lives for Him, but they are NOT a substitute for Him. I think this is what Jesus was getting at with the religious leaders. They were just like the Israelites that told Moses to go to talk to God for them. They were so stuck on what they had on paper they weren't going to the author to find out what He meant.
One of my memory verses for this year has been Hebrews 4:16. This is so not a coincidence. It says, "Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." You'll notice it does not say 'let us then approach God's word.' I am not advocating shelving our Bibles. Far from it. But I think we need to start going to God first and foremost, not the book about Him.
I don't know. Maybe I really am the only one that has missed the boat on this one. But something tells me I'm not. I don't think there would be so many books on prayer if we weren't struggling in this area. I just pray that knowing this now, I will make turning to God my first inclination not my last ditch effort.
Lord, the grace and mercy You extended to me this morning in opening my eyes to something that I was totally oblivious to has blown me away. I am sorry that I have taken Your precious Word and made it a substitute for You. I have given it a higher place than You, putting it on the throne. You gave it as a good and perfect gift, not a substitute. I have taken Your promises, Your truths, and Your directions and applied them where I saw fit instead of asking You where they were meant to be. But Your unconditional love knew my heart and You patiently waited until I was ready to see. I want to turn to You first, now and forevermore. Amen.