Thursday, March 02, 2006

"For Goodness' Sake, Just Pray!"

I confess. At times in my life, I have royally annoyed God. Especially in this area called Prayer.

I was in my twenties when it all started. Somewhere deep inside me I'd hear, "Pray for so-and-so. Pray as I lead you."

And always, that was the trigger for my head to start reasoning, to begin rattling-off questions:

"Pray for ____ to feel better? Why? I just saw her yesterday and she looked fine to me. I wonder if she is sick? I wonder what she has?"

"Pray for ____ to be comforted? Why? What happened? I haven't heard that anything happened to her or her family. Nobody has mentioned anything to me. I haven't heard a word from the church's telephone prayer chain, either. Hmm... I wonder what's wrong? Or maybe I am just hearing things..."

And over and over, always eventually inside of me I'd hear, "FOR GOODNESS' SAKE, JUST PRAY!!" And that's usually what it took before I'd be like, "Oh, yeah... I guess I should just go ahead and pray."

Poor God. And sometimes we wonder why He has to hit us over the head about some things...

Once Tom and I met a man who was selling something down at his storage shed and while Tom and the man spoke, I stepped away to look at something and inside me I heard, "Pray for this man's salvation because he'll soon die."

Of course, immediately, my brain flipped on the reasoning switch. I looked at the man and thought, "Him? He only looks around 60. He doesn't look too unhealthy to me. And besides, we're all going to die sometime. I'm probably just imagining things. I mean, he probably has a few years left."

And then I heard the ol', "For goodness' sake, just pray!" And I was, like, "Oh yeah... sorry about that. I did it again. Argh." And I prayed under my breath for him there and again the next day, and perhaps the next.

A year later we heard that the man passed away just a couple weeks after we saw him that day.

There have been other times when I have truly tried God's patience. Soon after that experience, God asked me to pray for Ken Osmond, otherwise known as Eddie Haskell of Leave It To Beaver fame. He asked me to pray for his safety.

"Pray for Ken Osmond? Why? What's happening to him? I haven't read anything about him lately or seen anything on the news. Hmm... I wonder why I should pray for his safety? I wonder what the problem could be...?"

"For goodness' sake, just pray!" There was an intensity about that request and I did eventually stop with the questions and pray. Years and years later I discovered that Ken Osmond was with the Los Angeles Police Department at that time, something I did not know, and was involved in a shooting that same year. Who knows what other dangers he and his fellow officers faced that year?

The list goes on. God has asked me to 'blindly' pray for other actors and pastors and friends and people I will never know. I'd like to say that all these years later God never has to tell me, "For goodness' sake, just pray!", but I would be lying. I can say, though, that He has to say it less now.

(Maybe now you can understand a bit better why I've sometimes blogged that I dislike reasoning.)

Who knows how much good would happen if only we would pray each and every time the Spirit of God asks us to?

If only we didn't always have to know the 'why' of everything.
If only we could obey without asking a bunch of questions first.
If only we could obey God at the drop of a hat and just say a simple, believing prayer.

Who knows what would happen if only we instantly obeyed God's quietest whisper and trusted Him with all the details which are none of our business?

Who knows?

"To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world." ~ Charles J. Chaput,

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