Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Working Prayers to a Good God

"Your prayers are working." For some reason, when I read or hear that I cringe a bit inside. It's well-meaning--a way to thank those who support you in prayer--but for some reason (and this is just my own opinion) it seems to take away from God's glory.

I mean I know, in a sense, our prayers ARE a form of work. It's an old turn of phrase, but we used to say we "labor in prayer."  And I know because of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross we who believe in Him have the privilege and power of prayer.

But GOD is the one who is doing the work. He's the One who gets glory for anything good that comes from our praying.

Okay, since I'm on a roll...let me share another cringe-producing phrase--"God is so good." There's absolutely nothing wrong with it. It's very true and worth repeating and gives Him the glory He deserves.

The thing that bothers me most about both these phrases is they're almost always used when prayers have been answered according to our human desires or when we see God at work in ways WE think are good.  "God is so good," is not often spoken when the medical test results are disappointing or when the car repairs cost more than I expect or when death steals a loved one too soon.

Now...let me jump down from my soapbox to say that this week is a "my prayers are working" and "God is so good" kind of week.

Yesterday I picked up a donation of nearly 1,100 brand new beanie babies.  Not only that, my sweet sister-in-law went with me to pick them up and we were able to separate them into 'boy' and 'girl' bags of 50 so I didn't need to do that again when I got them home.  Not only that--at our OCC prayer team meeting last night Patti offered to take them to her home to store.  They never got into my house!

We prayed for 2,000 stuffed animals this week and in the past FOUR DAYS God has provided 2,010 of them!

Then today we got a delivery of our supply of donated jump rope handles and frisbees. We were 'blessed' (yep, another phrase I use mostly when things go my way) to have Jay drive to Baltimore to pick them up, to have Erie First Church offer us storage for the handles, and to be able to fit the frisbees in the storage container with just inches to spare.  And the rain was falling while we were delivering with the truck inside a garage and the bright sun came out when we had to deliver to the container outside. Pretty remarkable.

Oh, and I forgot we got another donation today of hundreds of pairs of cotton work gloves that will be perfect for the extra boys' fillers we were lacking.

And I found out a situation I've been praying about for months may be close to being favorably settled.

So, today makes me want to shout, "The prayers are working!" and "I'm so blessed!" and "God is SO good," And I want to rejoice.  It's fitting.  Not only with my 'blessings' but with those of others.

On the other hand, I'm asking God to give me a level of maturity and knowledge of His character that will let me say, "God is so good" when things don't work according to my plan. I want to remember I am 'blessed' (from the Greek word makarios) when I desire God and His will more than my own. I want to know that God is hearing and answering my prayers even when that answer is 'no' or 'wait'--that He is 'working' even, and maybe most especially, then.

Because He IS good ALL the time--whether it looks like it to me or not.

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