... And give me what I ask for!
I wonder if this is this how you pray - because that's what it feels like from the place I often find myself occupying. As I talk to people I am often told of the prayers of people and, if I am hearing correctly then generally:
We come to God with our shopping lists of needs and our litany of woes.
We come in the hope that our imprecatory prayers will cause fire from heaven to fall on those who offend or oppose us.
We come to God praying that He will build His Church (so that we don't have to and so we can continue as we are in the places we inhabit as places of worship??)
Sometimes we come broken and confused, sinful (and sinned against) and it it in this place that I find a place of renewal and restoration for it is a place of solace and renewing. This is the place where we find direction and correction, leading and bleeding - and this is right for too often we are bound up in our needs rather than bound up in God's will.
Like children with homework we truly intend to do it well and to act diligently and yet, when it is before us, like children, attractions draw us away and we produce the minimum needed to tick the box.
Like those who came before we, I am sure, find ourselves (as in psalm 78 verse 35) like those who whenever Test and trial came would repent and earnestly search for Him.
But we too, like them, and the child with the homework, remember what is that we are called to do and, more importantly, be and yet this soon slips and the attractions, the desire to do those things which are not helpful (we call this 'sin' in the Church - not a popular word) swamp us and we drown in the waters of our own folly.
in Psalm 78 we find the words:
They remembered that God was their rock and the Most High God their redeemer.
Their heart was not steadfast towards him, neither were they faithful to his covenant.
I know I do!
God was so merciful that He forgave their misdeeds
and did not destroy them; many a time He turned back His wrath
and did not suffer His whole displeasure to be roused. For he remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes by and does not return.
Because God, our God, is indeed merciful.
Thank God for His written word and for Jesus, the Christ, His living Word and let us pray that He will fill us with His Holy Spirit and heal us now and cause us to walk in the right paths from this place forward.
Please remember today:
those who have loved one beset by ill health
those who you know who are running out of steam
those who you know who face trials and tests (of their own making and because of theirs)
those people around the world who work for peace: For our armed forces, aid and charity organisations and for peacekeepers
Today as we focus upon unexpected loss in a sunny holiday setting - upon the death of a 54 year old custody office who was 'just doing her job' - on a nation that is so in debt that old age pensioners have to decide whether to eat or buy necessary medicines:
What will our prayer be?