Sound Like a Broken Record?

I have an ongoing prayer request that makes me sound like a broken record.

Ever heard a vinyl record with a deep scratch? The phonograph needle gets stuck in the crack so the same lyric or tune gets repeated over and over and over.

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That’s me.

I’m a weary prayer warrior…losing patience…losing hope…for the people I’ve been praying for all these years.

O ye, woman, of little faith.

That’s how I feel sometimes when I open my dog-eared prayer journal, write the same prayer requests down, and remind God that according to His Word:

“He is more than able.”
“Nothing is impossible for Him.

I KNOW God loves the people I’m praying for, and can use all things for good; to draw them to Christ and mold them into His likeness.

I KNOW the Lord can restore broken lives. For I’ve heard the testimony of Christians whose chains were broken and they were set free from sin, shame, bad habits, and despair.

I KNOW, but do I BELIEVE.

Or maybe, if I was a squeakier wheel, I’d get the grease.

I need to keep knocking like that old woman in the Bible who kept pestering the judge till he got out of bed and opened the door.

Only, I’ve been pestering God for a decade—pounding my fist, down on my knees begging Him—to no avail.

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Ever been there?

Been so discouraged by what you see in people’s lives, that you don’t know how to pray? Or maybe you’ve given up prayer.

After I watched the movie The War Room, I vowed to pray more, pray harder,and claim God’s promises for someone. A month went by and nada!

Things got worse.

I thought the power of my prayers would persuade the Lord to make everything alright, overnight. After all, it worked in that movie.

LIfting their problems to the Lord, trusting Him to act, submitting to the consequences of their actions. I won’t spoil the story ( I’d encourage you to watch it) but hey, I’m still waiting for my happy ending.

I’m waiting and weary, but I won’t stop praying because C.S. Lewis was right when he said,

“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God, it changes me.”

Prayer changes me because…

  • Even though God doesn’t answer my prayers according to my expectations, I know there’s a bigger, eternal picture that I can’t see.
  • Even though, there’s a lack of evidence that God is working in someone’s life, I know He will complete the work He began in them, and me.
  • Even though I’m bewildered, I know God loves His children with an everlasting love. He’s called us to pray for one another. Not become their god.

Therefore, I can praise God and trust Him….

Even in this—seemingly endless prayer request.

 

Photos by: Pixabay

Is God Watching From a Distance?

In church, I sang the words “Our God is greater, our God is stronger,” without conviction.

If God were greater and stronger than any other, wouldn’t I see more victory in Christian lives?

More joy, more answered prayer?

Perhaps Bette Midler’s lyrics are right. Perhaps “God is watching us from a distance.” 

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Because when I’m watching someone from a distance…and I see people in the news fleeing from persecution or weeping after a natural disaster….

I empathize, but I don’t feel their pain.

Not like I do in person. Otherwise, I’d be compelled to act more often. Pray. Donate money. Assist them.

Which is why I sometimes feel like God is watching from a distance. Lord, can you see me from up there? Listen to me. Do something now!

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I tried to ignore Satan’s insinuation that God was far away. But my problems took centerstage on the altar instead of the Cross.

“Lord, I know worship is about you, but if I could taste victory in this particular area then I’d be able to praise you. Experience joy again.”

During the next song, I closed my eyes to meditate on the Lord’s faithfulness in my life. I wanted to praise Him in the storm instead of waiting for the clouds to pass.

Perhaps I’d been watching God from a distance.

Giving Him my daily, one-way dictation. Telling God what He should do to make life better. Problems solved. Joy regained. Make it snappy.

Rather than be still in God’s presence for Him alone. Obeying His Word because I love Him.

“Lord, I’ve spent too much time looking at Me and Mine this past week. Forgive me. Only You can satisfy my heart. I know this because I’ve experienced the…

  • Joy of Your presence. 
  • Joy not based on answered prayer. 
  • Joy of Your salvation.

Weight lifted from my shoulders when I agreed to stop fixing everyone’s problems, and fix my eyes back on the Lord. 

Trusting Him to work out everything for good in my life and theirs. (Romans 8:28, 29)

God watches His children, but He is fully present. For His Spirit dwells within each believer.

God not only sees our felt needs, He knows our true needs which includes our never-ending need to abide (or remain) in Christ. (John 15) To illustrate abiding, Jesus used the visual of a branch attached to a vine in order to bear fruit.

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 Abiding in Christ means it’s possible to have an ever-present relationship with the Almighty God. Some of that fruit is joy.

These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:11)

Joyful, even in this…

Moment when God may seem far away and slow to the rescue.