Thursday, September 5, 2013

Prayer Misconception, Part 3

Misconception #3:
Prayer is to hold God to His promises.

My thoughts: We do not need to hold God to His promises. One thing I believe we, as people, forget is that God’s timing is perfect. Many of His promises were not meant to be fulfilled in the very moment He made them. Most of them take time; come in time, at a time when God’s plan is coming together.

One of the things the prayer study touches on here is that God made promises “to stir up hope and expectation so that we would have reason to turn to Him. The purpose of His promise is to give us confidence and peace.”

I agree. Through the promises God has made, He has inspired us to hope for the day those promises are brought to fruition. Through hope we are able to have faith. Through hope, we know we can turn to God for anything.

Hope by definition is to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence; to believe, desire, or trust. God's promises have a built in gift of hope, moving us to trust in Him, to have the desire to believe in Him and His promises.

God wants to live our lives for us. The only thing standing in the way is our Free Will. We need to consciously, actively hand our will over to the hands of God. If we relinquish our will to God, if we choose to put our lives, our decisions, in the hands of God, then we have nothing to lose. There is nothing to over think, nothing to fear, nothing to doubt. God has it all covered. And hope is the means to achieving the mentality necessary to cross that bridge to handing it all over to God, and living His plan for us.  

It is hard to actively acknowledge our Free Will, and choose with everything we have to hand it all over. Being human has flaws, the biggest of which is taking our will back from God's hands. 

But we have that right:
Free Will.
What does that mean?

It means we are free to choose what to do with our lives. We are free to choose God, or not to. God wants us to choose Him. He knows which of us will. Have faith that no matter how long it takes you, no matter how many times you fall off of God's wagon, He will always be there when you return, helping to pick you up and get you back on His side.

The younger son wanted what was rightfully his from his father's estate. Then, being rebellious and wanting to live life his way, not the way of his father's, he took what was given to him and left. The younger son lived in sin, spending all he was given by his father, quickly realizing how empty his life had become, and how hard life was out in the world. Upon losing everything, having hit bottom, the younger son returns home, not sure what would be waiting for him. The father, all the while, was waiting for his son to return to him, patiently. When the father saw his son, he rejoiced, welcoming his son into his arms! The father threw a feast to celebrate the return of his child. 

The point of this parable is to show us that God is a constant God. His love is constant. His patience is constant. God will seek us out, try to show us the way, but if we chose to ignore Him, He will not force us. He will patiently wait for us to come to Him, and in that moment, He will lavish us as if we had never left. 

It is hard work to stay vigilant in the act of handing one's own will over to God. But it must be done, day in and day out, time and time again.
And God has all the time in the world to wait for you...

If ever in doubt, turn to God's Word: the bible. The prayer study states: "Scripture is not God's words; it is God's Word. Scripture is a whole and cannot be cut apart and pasted together to match my agenda. His Word is not a catalog. It is His promise in writing."

My thoughts: Remember how I have shared that I don't like 'cherry-picking' bible verses?
Sometimes it is necessary for a particular punctuation, but for the most part, I believe there is a need to read the context around any given bible verse; it lends to a deeper understanding. There is a reason those words are put in the order they are; that the stories and accounts recorded are in this book. Reading the bible is more than understanding the words as if using their dictionary definitions. It is about opening your heart and soul to the Word of God, so He may reach down inside your spirit and give you His understanding and wisdom, through the Holy Spirit. 

God has shared His purpose and His promises, through His Word. 

For credit purposes, the Prayer Study I am using is: 
Live A Praying Life, New and Revised Anniversary Addition 
Jennifer Kennedy Dean ~ 
This is not an endorsement. This just happens to be the prayer study I am using, and I have decided to share my study experience, here on The Paisley Butterfly

My Bible: Life Application Study Bible, New International Version 
Why I like this bible: There are extensive notes on the verses. Each page has more notes:bible verse ratio. 

Here is a link to an online bible -- there are other online bibles out there, this one just happens to be the one I use most. 

Again, listing my bible references is not for the purpose of endorsement, but an effort to appropriate credit to materials used.

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