There is no question that my brain works overtime. Tonight as I thought, I wondered if we treat our prayers like we are placing an order at the local drive thru. I thought about how as a society we are accustomed to pulling up to a microphone without leaving the comfort of our cars, placing our order for whatever tickles our fancy of the moment (for our tastebuds), and receiving it as soon as we stop at the next window.
Do we treat prayer the same way? Do we look at what we think we need immediately to fix our lives and expect God to deliver it right away? That may sound rediculous, but think about this for a minute or two. Do we not treat our prayers like drive-thru orders at times?
Imagine this scenario. You pull up to a drive-thru thinking, “Hmmm…my life is jacked up. So, I’m going to push the button, talk to God, and sit here and wait for the order to arrive. Oh, and I don’t really want it to cost me anything. I’m choosing to pull straight to the second window in that case. I really don’t want it to cost me anything!”
So, now you are ready to place your order. After all, you’ve got what you think you need to fix the challenges in your life. All you have to do is ask, right? So, imagine this prayer order. “Yeah, um…Hey God. Like I know things are a mess, but I want the combo number three. You know, the one where the kids clean their rooms and don’t fight, the job that pays more money is given to me, and the in-laws move 3000 miles away like as early as tomorrow.”
First, what we would order for our lives would be nothing short of quick fixes. And as I think about this further, what would be accomplished by doing this? Second, would we learn to trust God’s promises? No. We would learn to trust in a bail me out plan and fail to grow, learn, and mature.
Romans 5:2-4 (New International Version)
3Not only so, but we[b] also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Now, reflect upon this verse of scripture:
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
God has plans for us. And He uses challenges, adversity, set backs, successes, trials, and suffering to produce pereverance, character, and hope in each and every one of us. His plans are to prosper us-not harm us.
Are we willing to ask a fast food prayer for a quick fix combo when He is preparing for us more than we could imagine possible? God has plans for us. God is preparing us to handle and implement the plans He has designated for each of us. We are like tools being sharpened by the Master craftsman. God is the Craftsman and only He knows how we will be used. Thus, He will sharpen us to accomplish the tasks we will be called to.
(If anyone has ever said you weren’t the sharpest tool in the shed this will now become an interesting conversation!)
In our prayers, let’s remember to praise God for growing and stretching us. It may cost our comfort for awhile. It may be a little painful. It may break us. But, He has a plan. And it usually doesn’t involve any combo delivered instantly. Instead of looking at life as a bundled mess, let’s look for the value of each life lesson in each life area. And let’s focus our prayer on finding the value God has intended us to find in them.