Monday, May 2, 2016

A Praying Life: Chapters 19-20

(A few friends and I are reading this book together.  Each week we will read two chapters and on Friday I will post my comments from the reading.  Others may add their thoughts in the comments section.  If you are interested in reading this book as well, here is the link for the Kindle version of the book.)

Chapters 19-20

- I thought these two chapters were especially powerful.  In talking about his daughter Emily, it helped me see practically how the principles he's been discussing fit into everyday life.  I found myself thinking, "Phew!  Good thing I'm not a parent, or he would be stepping all over my toes in these chapters!"  To those of you who are parents, I hope these chapters were a help to you.  Later, I realized that while other relationships are naturally different from the parent/child relationship, the principles can be applied.  Thus, I saw my need for these truths and couldn't just ignore them because I am not a parent. 

- "I prayed for little Emily because I couldn't get inside her heart."  (Pg. 165, Loc. 2089)  And I also can't get into the hearts of those around me.  This inability to get inside another's heart often results in me doing nothing.  I'm encouraged to strike at that inactivity and, instead, pray for those in whom I see a spiritual need.  

- "Because I was speaking to my heavenly Father about the potential drift of her heart, I could relax in the face of sin.  Prayer softened me." (Pg. 165, Loc. 2095)  I see that if a person's failures and sin bother me too much, it is likely due to me: 1) not praying adequately for him and 2) not truly trusting God to make the needed change in his heart.

- "Until we become convinced that we can't change our child's heart, we will not take prayer seriously."  (Pg. 169, Loc. 2130)  Again, applying it more broadly: until Jacob is convinced that he can't change another's heart, he will not take prayer seriously.  

- "I was also struck by the wisdom of God's five-year delay to our prayers for Emily."  (Pg. 176, Loc. 2230)  In many ways, I think I am naturally patient.  However, seeing the author's willingness to pray about the same area of his daughter's life for years revealed a lack of patience in my prayer life. I want, even expect God to answer in what I consider to be reasonable timing.  Honestly, I don't want to pray for an area in someone's life for five years that I feel God could accomplish it in a matter of weeks or months.  This again touches my trust in God to work and my willingness to see the big picture in people's lives.  I don't want to simply read these words, I want to incorporate them in my life!

I've had my say, what say you?

1 comment:

  1. “If a ship is off a few degrees, it is imperceptible at first, but over time it becomes a vast distance” (pg.166). How true this is! It reminded me that when God brings some area of sin/struggle to my mind, whether in my life or with someone else, I need to make it a matter of prayer immediately before it turns into a bigger issue.

    I just continue to appreciate the author's emphasis on how helpless we are against life and being able to change things. That stood out to me again in these two chapters. For instance, he says on pg.174, “I prayed because I was weak. I wasn't trying to control God. I certainly wasn't in control of Emily. I was simply praying God's own heart back to Him”. I can control my praying (how often I pray, who or what I pray for, etc.), but I can't control the outcome of what I'm praying about. Even in prayer, I am weak but He is strong! To say it this way: prayer is recognizing my weakness and depending on God's strength.