Posted by: mikenicholsblog | April 30, 2017

pray, then trust

During this past week, I have been challenged about prayer and praying for others. Reading Scripture written by the Apostle Paul challenges me with his consistency in prayer. I’m no Paul, and I certainly don’t understand everything about prayer, but I know it works. His passion reminds me to simply pray, then trust God for the results.

It has been seventeen years since our daughter headed off to college and her parents were depressed by the thought of heading into unknown territory.  She made the decision to attend the University of Toledo a bit late, and was told that she would not be able to get into Park dormitory.  Those were not the words her protective father wanted to hear and I set out to do something about it. Oh, not in the normal obsessive parent way.  No, I told our daughter that we would pray her into that dorm.

Sometimes I look back at brash statements and wonder if I was filled with faith or foolishness.  In this particular scenario, I was determined to see God work and use it as an example in our family of answered prayer My boldness was setting me up if I was wrong, but God answered quickly and my daughter started the year in Park dormitory.  I wish it could be said of me that all my prayer requests are laced with that much boldness and faith.

Another passage on prayer (this one from the Old Testament book of Ezra) also challenges me greatly.  Have you ever exhibited such confidence in God that your trust carried risk, such as God not coming through for you?  In that moment, you trusted Him for results that only He could accomplish, but what if He didn’t?  Would you be embarrassed?  Or worse yet, would onlookers doubt the sufficiency of your Father?   Make no mistake; God may not always come through in the manner we would expect, but He always does what is best for His children.  Now consider with me the human risk associated with Ezra’s trust in Ezra 8:21-23…

And there by the Ahava Canal, I gave orders for all of us to fast and humble ourselves before our God. We prayed that he would give us a safe journey and protect us, our children, and our goods as we traveled.  For I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to accompany us and protect us from enemies along the way. After all, we had told the king, “Our God’s hand of protection is on all who worship him, but his fierce anger rages against those who abandon him.”  So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer.

Ezra was leading a second group of exiles back to Jerusalem.  He had let the king know that God’s hand of protection was on all who worshiped Him, but this was a dangerous journey. From my study, I believe Ezra was leading quite a large group of people.  He was ashamed to ask for protection — and there, humanly speaking, was the risk. But His faith was born in truth — God is a protector of those who worship Him. When they fasted and prayed, God heard their prayer. Was there ever any doubt?!

The depth of prayer, God’s sovereignty, and how He chooses to honor faith is beyond my comprehension.  However, there is a truth I have learned over the course of my life.  God answers prayer, and you and I can depend on Him every day … for everything.  God has chosen to let men like Paul and Ezra give us great words about praying. The key for all Christ-followers is to let prayer become a vital part of our daily routine, and then trust our God for the results.

Was I silly to tell my daughter she would get into a particular dormitory? That might be someone’s opinion.  But I was convinced then, as I am now, that God can do what I can’t.  And when He does, He gets the glory.  Ezra was concerned about God’s reputation — and God came through!  My concern is that 21st century Christ-followers risk so little that we never put God’s reputation to the test.

Is there anything confronting you right now worthy of fasting and earnest prayer?


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