Monday, November 12, 2012

Praying It Forward

My children know mommy demands immediate obedience. And yet they struggle daily to balance the desire to be independent and do it their way with the desire to make mommy happy by obeying her.

Sadly, all too often, I’ve played out the same scenario with my heavenly Father. On a spiritual high, I will become totally engrossed with in-depth Bible study and prayer, rooting myself so deeply by His life-giving river that I feel I cannot possibly be drawn away from His presence again.

And then step by wayward step, I allow the cares of this world to draw me from the water’s edge. Disobedience, apathy, children, friends, job, household chores, spouse, sheer laziness, exhaustion—they all beckon me away from His presence until His Holy Spirit convicts me, sending me humble, repentant, ashamed, parched as I crawl face-down to Him for a long drink.

In Scripture, King Solomon was on one of the biggest spiritual highs of his life—what God had not allowed his father, David, to accomplish, he had been able to complete. After seven years, the temple, the house of the Lord, was finally finished. The Ark of the Covenant was placed in the holies of holies. The people of God were “sacrificing so many sheep and oxen they could not be counted or numbered” (1 Kings 8:5). The glory of the Lord Almighty had descended upon earth to fill the temple with a cloud so thick that “the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud” (1 Kings 8:11).

And yet when Solomon prayed to dedicate the temple, he did not merely rejoice over how close he and Israel were to God at that present moment. Instead, his prayer looked ahead to those times when God’s people would not be walking in obedience to Him:

When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain, because they have sinned against You, and they pray toward this place and confess Your name and turn from their sin when You afflict them, then hear in heaven and forgive the sin …. And send rain on Your land” (I Kings 8:35-36).

He continued to pray that "When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin) and You are angry with them and deliver them to an enemy…if they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who have taken them captive, and pray to You…then hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven Your dwelling place, and maintain their cause, and forgive Your people who have sinned against You and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You” (I Kings 8: 46, 48-50).

There is a lesson we each must learn from Solomon’s prayer. We must realize our human frailties will eventually draw us from that mountaintop, even if for a short while. Knowing this truth, in those uplifting seasons of indescribable closeness with God, we must pray, asking Him to convict us of our sin during those future times when we will undoubtedly go astray and then forgive us when we truly repent.

This week, start praying in this manner. Pray for God to never give up on you, to never just let you have your own disobedient way, to never let your heart harden to His voice, to never stop hearing your prayers and offering forgiveness, and to never cease prompting you with the Holy Spirit towards a life of complete obedience and a closer walk with Him.

(Photo: Our '05 family trip to Hawaii, looking down from the mountain at the ocean)

Posting here from the archives on this Veterans' Day weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment