First, a little public service announcement... Shipping and emails will be slow this week. We're going to be taking a computer break as our "Spring Break", and we won't be checking in for a few days, so if you don't hear back from us before the end of the week, don't be concerned! We have plans for some fun projects during the week, including resting and recharging, and I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with my dear ones! : )
I have been thinking a lot about prayer lately and the difference between a prayer of faith and testing God. I was thinking about the verse in James where it says that we should "Ask in faith, nothing wavering", and then the verse came to mind about Jesus being tempted in the wilderness to throw himself down at the mercy of the angels and Christ answered, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." Then, in Psalm 95 it talks about the Israelites tempting God, proving Him and seeing His works, and then it says He was grieved with them, that they erred in their hearts and did not know His ways. That made me think. They complained again and again, and again and again He did more than what they asked, proving He was God. They saw this... and still they did not truly know Him. How could that be? So what is the difference between tempting God and asking in faith?? The Pharisees asked Christ for a sign and received a reprimand instead, and yet a Gentile woman asked for her daughter to be healed and Christ commended her. What makes the difference??
And then I saw it. The angels would have taken care of Christ. And he could have turned the stones into bread... He fed 5,000 plus people later in His ministry. The difference can be summed up in two short words...
'If'?' or 'Since'.
The temptation wasn't as much to jump off the temple or make bread. It was to question God. He didn't say, "Since you are the Son of God"... He said "If you are...", and tempted Him to prove it. Are we tempting God when we pray? Are we like the Israelites and the Pharisees and like Satan in the desert? Do we say (or think!) "If you are really God, then you can... heal her, get me a better job, fix this", or do we come to Him like the blind man, or the Gentile woman, and say, "Since you are God, I ask your mercy in this area..." If? or Since. Do you see how one is a challenge for God to prove Himself, and the other is a plea for God to reveal His glory? One is a questioning, a testing, a tempting. And if the answer isn't what we wanted we blame God and complain and go our own way. The other is a statement. "You are God. And because of that I can come to you with my requests and know that You will answer the way You see best -- the way that will reveal Your glory. And that will be what I want. For You to be glorified. Whether your answer to my prayer is Yes or No or Wait it won't change my love and trust for you. Even if I don't understand it You will still be God."
Doesn't that give a richness to this verse in James?
"If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. Let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."
Nothing wavering. No "If' You are's", only a calm assurance - a trust - and a "Since You are". And He will be glorified through our prayer and our lives. It is humbling. It is certain.
It is glorious.
So how is your prayer life? Are you challenging God to prove Himself to you rather than coming to Him humbly, claiming His promises, and resting on Him in faith? May each of our prayers this week be prayers of faith to our Lord and Saviour!
Your Happy Monday prompt for the week...
"My God is..."