How often have we caught ourselves saying I can hardly wait? Waiting is one of my least favorite things to do. When I am going on a trip and I get stuck in traffic…not good. When you are at an amusement park and your favorite ride has a line that is 2 hours long…not good. Growing up my family would always take a week during the summer and spend it in Monticello on Lake Freeman at my grandparent’s lake cottage. The hour and 10 minute car ride seemed like an eternity. As we got closer to the lake my sister and I would start to try to get the best spot in the car to see the big green bridge that crossed the lake, because we knew when we saw it we were there and there would be no more waiting. It was a contest to see who could see the bridge first. There was some shoving and possibly elbows that were thrown but we wanted to be the first to see it. The big green bridge was always something we looked forward to seeing. When it’s something you are excited about waiting seems harder, but worth the wait in the end because of where you end up.
Many of us find ourselves in many different areas of life waiting. Waiting for an answer, for a decision, for an opportunity, for more time, or for the end. Whatever we are waiting for, trusting that God will guide you where you need to be is crucial. I knew that we would end up at the big green bridge because I trusted my dad in getting us there. God does the same for us. He is taking us on a journey through life and He is leading you where you need to go. It may be nerve wrecking or seem crazy but He is in control. All we have to do is sit and be still and trust that He will get us there. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God”. The Psalmist tells us to be still and know God. In a sense he is telling us to wait for it. Wait for God to show up and lead us to where we need to go. So in all the times we get impatient and get tired of waiting, remember that God has everything planned out for you. If you rush away in a different direction because you are tired of waiting you will miss out on what God has in store for you. So don’t rush and don’t be impatient. The big green bridge is coming…just wait for it.
I cannot recall talking to a Christian who didn’t desire for their prayer life to be more fulfilling, more fruitful, just simply better. Discontentment regarding our ability to pray seems to be common among Christians. I want to share something that I have found helpful, however, what I am about to say does not sit well with all, but I ask you to hear me out.
Through my spiritual journey I have found prayer books have brought a whole new depth to my prayer life.
Let me explain. It is easy for me to slip into autopilot mode, to say the same thing I always say, and cruise through. Using prayer books leads me to pray in ways that I wouldn’t pray, often even praying for things I typically wouldn’t think to pray. Prayer books stretch me.
One such book that has bore much fruit for me is John Baillie’s work A Diary of Private Prayer. I was first introduced to the original version a couple years ago, and recently found an updated copy. I would like to share a portion of the morning prayer on day 11 from the updated version.
“Yet, Lord, do not let me rest content with an ideal of humanity that is less than what was shown to us in Jesus. Give me the mind of Christ. May I not rest until I am like him in all his fullness. May I listen to Jesus’ question: What are you doing more than others? And so may the three Christian graces of faith, hope, and love be more and more formed within me, until all I do and say brings honor to Jesus and his gospel.”
I wonder what it would look like if we all began to allow prayer books to stretch us and help us grow. This is not at all to say these replace our spontaneous off the cuff prayers, simply that they supplement them. I wonder what would happen if we all began to pray this short prayer above regularly.
Imagine with me what it would look like if the Church across the nation were to regularly pray to “not rest until I am like him in all his fullness.” And for “faith, hope, and love [to] be more and more formed within me, until all I do and say brings honor to Jesus and his gospel.”
I can’t help but think we may begin to see some of the cultural change that we long for. If we won’t pray for it, who will?
Will you commit with me to pray this prayer every day for the next month?
Blog posts from the Sterling staff, and maybe even the occasional guest blogger.