In our pragmatic culture, it is easy to want to have assurances of a cause and effect relationship between my praying and answers to prayer. There is a Charlie Brown comic strip that shows Charlie kneeling at his bed stating, “I found a new theological truth. If you hold your hands upside down, you get the opposite of what you pray for.” Do we want some kind of formulated prayer process, so that I know if I plug in certain things, answers will automatically come out? Can I just pray because God invites me to pray? Since prayer is first and foremost, a time of worship, adoration, and refreshing of my spirit with the greatness of God, then answers are somewhat secondary. (Recheck the Lord’s Model Prayer, Matthew 6:9-13) I am learning that prayer is a mystery, in the sense that God determines how He uses our prayer. But I am also gaining a great appreciation for people praying so that we all get the glorious opportunity to participate in His work. God calls us to pray. That should be sufficient. He is the sovereign determiner of how prayer gets answered.
So as you worship in your prayer, here are also some things Dottie and I are praying for:
1. God will be honored as we travel this intriguing journey; We will hope only in Him and how He wants to work out providing for us.
2. Completion of necessary fix-up to get our house on the market and then a sale as soon as possible.
3. Successful treatment of brain tumor to arrest further growth
4. Strength, endurance, harmony, vitality, Godward focus for the Southwood congregation as they continue to carry out God’s call and look for their new senior pastor.
5. Patiently waiting for God reveling of what He has for us in this new phase of life.
My greatest desire is to continue to impart to people the richness of an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ in every day life, in all aspects of life. I take significant interest in Paul’s statement to the Philippians, telling them that He believes their prayers will lead to his deliverance and continuing ministry to them (1:21-26). But he is anchored in a win-win situation. If he dies or lives it is both gain. It makes sense to me that I cannot impart what God has poured into me, especially over the last 10 months, if I am in heaven. But what may make sense to me doesn’t determine God’s plan. I recognize that legacy can also be accomplished through dying. I do not know yet and it stretches my faith. But the message to me for 10 months has been consistent, “Just trust Me!” Do I have any reason not to?
One of my hardest adjustments over the last 10 months has been my incapacity to take care of others. When God called me to pastoral ministry in 1970, I took heart from the Lord’s words in Mark 10:45, For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. I can’t do the ransom part but serving has always been a privilege. It is a hard adjustment.
Thank you so much from the depth of my heart for praying. Keep it up but especially enjoy this privileged, gracious time we get, to know Him better.
(Philippians 2:12-18) Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.