Why Pray? . . . “Who You Gonna Call?”
Continuing in the “Why?” series Pastor Brian spoke of praying for the Giants or the Dodgers to win. As a life-long Dodgers fan, I would say it is the Giants who are in need of prayer but it is a long season. Just ask any member of the 1951 Dodgers or fans like me who hate hearing over and over again about Bobby Thompson’s home run. In his excellent sermon, Brian mentioned several situations where humans, Christians included, turn to prayer. Cutting to the chase, Brian adeptly made the point we usually are trying to get God in line with our personal agenda. Guilty on all counts! I don’t often pray for myself (I do come to Him for wisdom, guidance, and comfort). My petitions for others, though well meaning, are my perspective on what I would like God to do for or in that person’s life. Oswald Chambers put it this way. Am I willing to adopt God’s interest in this person or am I going to continue in my interest in this person? I have such a limited view and my solution that I want someone to see or do is just that, my solution. Sometimes my prayer for relief from a problem is exactly the opposite of what the person needs and what God is trying to accomplish. In my human aversion to pain, I substitute my view of the situation for God’s omniscient vision. Please do not take this as my saying not to pray compassionately, for mercy and grace because we do need to do more of this, it is to reinforce the notion of praying “Thy will be done.” As scary as this may be to some, it is the point of faith and the place of trust.
This reminded me of a presentation made a number of years ago by one of my favorite pastor/teachers, Erwin McManus, speaking on connecting with God in prayer. He said, “These days everyone prays. Muslims pray, Buddhists pray, even Congress prays.” Using the text of 1 Kings 18 and the story of Elijah vs. the 450 prophets of Baal, McManus highlighted the fact that the prophets of Baal were very animated in prayer, extremely devoted to prayer and even mutilated themselves as evidence of their sincerity in prayer. Their prayers did not bring down the fire even though they prayed all day. Elijah taunted the prophets of Baal and just maybe asked them, “who you gonna call?” Elijah called on the One True God and the fire came down. I encourage you to read the account in 1 Kings 18 and you will see Elijah’s prayer was for God’s will be done. In book of James it is recorded in chapter 5:17 that “Elijah was man with a nature like ours.” Elijah trusted in God despite the odds of 450 to 1. In our day to day struggles or times of desperate needs who you pray to makes all the difference in the world. And when you pray, can you trust that the one you pray to will have your best interest in mind and even more so, His best for you in mind? Our God is worthy.
The bottom line is who you gonna call?