A few thoughts on what extraordinary prayer is.
This last Christmas as 6-Year-old Ashlynd was playing on her mom’s phone, advertisements started popping up. Naturally, she clicked on what she liked. After accumulating about $250.00 of various Pokémon toys, she was prompted to confirm the order. She walked over to her sleeping mother and put the fingerprint scanner on the phone against her finger.
When her parents noticed the order confirmation email, they assumed foul play. As little Ashlynd overheard her parents she said, “No, Mommy, I was shopping. But don’t worry — everything that I ordered is coming straight to the house.”
This illustrates well the way many of us treat faith. We pray for whatever we want and bring our list in for the big Guy-in-the-Sky’s stamp of approval. Moreover, most professing Christians live like God is disengaged and that their actions go unnoticed. Somehow many still believe if they show up to church and offer a prayer in just the right way, they can still get their order through.
Doesn’t the Bible say faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains? (Matthew 17:20) What I want isn’t nearly as difficult as tossing a mountain into the sea! (Matthew 21:21) Come on, doesn’t the Bible also say God wants to give us the desires of our heart? (Psalm 37:4)
This is a good example of how Scripture applied out of context creates heresy. The flaw is pursuing what we want without submission to what may objectively be needed.
God wants to show Himself to us as the greatest source of transcendent wholeness, not because He needs it, but because we do. Our life is like one period on a page in a library full of books. Your prayers for things that diminish the clarity of needing God only appear good from your tiny perspective, but in the end, might dilute the embracing of the greatest good – becoming metaphysically whole.
C. S. Lewis says it well: “For most of us the prayer in Gethsemane is the only model. Removing mountains can wait.”
What the old Oxford scholar meant is embracing “your will be done” is vastly more important than chasing “my will be done.”
Phillips Brooks takes it further: “Prayer is not conquering God’s reluctance, but taking hold of God’s willingness.”
Real prayer begins with awareness of how finite we are, followed by submission and trust in Him. Christians don’t follow God because they “get it,” they follow God because they realize they don’t.
In Christianity, ordinary people become extraordinary not by mighty natural gifts or by controlling the power of God but by humility, trust and obedience before Him.
Prayer Picture: https://static.pexels.com/photos/213316/pexels-photo-213316.jpeg