Answered Prayers continued...
I realize full well the flesh bristles whenever it hears the word 'choice', because when one implies choice, they inevitably imply accountability, and accountability nowadays is as popular and welcome as scurvy or cholera.
The flesh loves the notion of zero accountability. It loves the notion of having no responsibility before a sovereign God, and as such the doctrines and teachings which insist we have no say in the matter of our salvation, and that nothing is required of us as individuals, are becoming more popular than ever before.
It’s as though the word ‘if’ has been magically expunged from the pages of Scripture in the last decade, and conditionality is no longer a variable in man’s ultimate reconciliation with God the Father.
‘Well, frankly, it doesn’t matter what you do, or don’t do. If you’ve been preapproved, preordained, and prescribed in God’s book, then you will have no choice in the matter of your salvation. It will happen even if it be against your will. God will drag you into heaven kicking and screaming, and you will have absolutely no say in the matter.’
All well and good until we begin to run into those scriptures with which we must contend, which tell us that God so loved the world not just a handful of souls, that Jesus said ‘if’ anyone desires to come after Me, and that countless passages within scripture charge us to pursue holiness, righteousness, obedience, humility, and sanctification.
Just as we choose to follow after Christ, we choose to conform our prayers to the will of God.
Praying in conformity to the will of God goes beyond the words we speak. It goes to the heart of whether or not we truly accept the will of God for our lives as being perfect, and flawless.
When we pray God’s will be done in our lives, we are acknowledging our acceptance of His plan, His purpose, and His design for our journey here on earth, recognizing His way is the better way, and His plan is the better plan.
Human pride has a very difficult time with accepting the plan of God, and acknowledging the perfection thereof. Human pride always thinks itself wiser than God, more capable of making the right decisions, and more qualified to choose the path we follow.
There is an ongoing and constant battle in the hearts of men between acquiescing to the will of God, submitting to His authority, and acknowledging the superiority of His will over ours. To put it plainly, man likes to think himself the center of the universe, the apple of God’s eye, the pinnacle of wisdom, and the fount of knowledge. To humble oneself and acknowledge the preeminence, superiority, and supremacy of God goes against man’s fallen nature, and this is why many have a difficult time doing it.
God does what He desires, both in heaven and on earth, working all things in accordance with the counsel of His will. God doesn’t need our permission to do what He sees fit, but in order for our prayers to be heard, in order for our prayers to be answered, we must nevertheless pray in accordance to His will.
Psalm 135:6-7, “Whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deep places. He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries.”
Sometimes I cringe when I hear certain individuals pray certain kinds of prayers. You know the prayers I’m referring to, ‘I speak it, I decree it, I command it’, with no qualifier at the end such as, ‘if it be Your will’, or, ‘let it be done according to Your will.’
Such prayers of entitled demand remind me of an altercation I saw once between a father and his son, who got it in his head that if he could just be stubborn and bullheaded enough, and scream his father into submission, he’d get what he was asking for.
The man in question was a war veteran, a hard man, who had been honorably discharged from the army, and subsequently became a sheepherder. There were stories of this man having taken on a pack of wolves with nothing more than his shepherd’s staff and the knife he used to slice bread, so when I happened to stop by his home and hear someone screaming from the barn I knew it couldn’t be him.
One thing I’ve learned about hard men over the years is that they don’t do much talking, they don’t raise their voices, they don’t try to browbeat you into submission…they just do what they must with brutal efficiency.
Since I’d shown up mid-conversation, I didn’t know what the argument was about, but as I walked around the house to the barn, the sheepherder’s teenage son was attempting to stare his father down, standing half a stride away glaring at him.
They didn’t notice me, as they just stood staring at each other, then the son began screaming again, ‘the best you could do was a be a sheepherder, that’s why I can’t afford a new bike and new shoes, I’m sick of this. As soon as I turn eighteen, I’m leaving.’
I didn’t see the swing; it was too quick…but the yelling boy flew back and landed on his backside before I had a chance to let out the breath I was holding in.
‘Who do you think you’re talking to boy? Get back to work before you don’t have a choice in the leaving’ the father said, then picked up a pitchfork and started stacking hay in the corner of the barn.
Sometimes I wonder if we forget who it is we’re talking to when we pray. I wonder if we forget that we are conversing with the Creator of all that is, the One who spoke the universe into being, and the giver and sustainer of life as we know it.
Know who it is you are praying to, and let this knowledge birth in you the requisite reverence one must possess when addressing the King of kings and Lord of lords.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.