Friday, August 24, 2007

For Planning Purposes


My parents watch Charles Stanley on Sunday mornings and I caught one of his sermons on our recent trip to Virginia. I wasn't taking notes and, unfortunately, didn't capture the Scripture periscope (a thump on the head to the seminary student...). But there were a couple take-aways that have stuck with me.

  • Be specific in our appeals to God

  • Prepare for what it is that we seek

Stanley said God appreciates our attempts to move beyond generalities to be descriptive and pointed in our prayer requests. We should also be mindful of the fact that God expects us to do our part in preparing to receive what we desire. (I would just add here that this doesn't mean that preparation in and of itself will cinch whatever it is that we want... God is not a genie.)

For example...

I want to remain cancer-free. I pray for this. But if I'm ignoring certain dietary and lifestyle influences that may have an impact on my health, what am I telling God? That I don't want it bad enough to do my part.

I want to reach people for Christ through the written word. I pray for impact and effectiveness. But if I'm sitting around snarfing down a daily diet of Jerry Springer and General Hospital... when I could be studying theology or trying to develop better communication skills... what am I telling God? That I don't want it bad enough to do my part.

I want my children to be healthy, contented, compassionate, resilient, God-centered adults. I pray for this. But if I put them in front of trash TV and raise them to believe that the world revolves around them, what am I telling God? Again, that I don't want it bad enough to do my part.

Questions: What do you want? Are you praying in generalities or specifics? What are you doing today to prepare to receive what it is that you desire?

On top of my reading stack: Night by Elle Wiesel. Not for the young or overly sensitive. A powerfully penned, kick-in-the-gut recounting of a boy's encounter with the Holocaust. Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 and writes with heart-wrenching authority.

(Photo by Joey~!!; see http://flickr.com/photos/tequilarose/249662247/ for restrictions.)

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