Have you ever had someone ask you to pray for them? Of course, you have, we all have. If you are like me, you've agreed to pray, why wouldn't you? Also if you're like me, you're not 100% when it comes to actually remembering to pray for the thing you said you'd pray for.
This happened to me recently; it was kind of a big deal.
Friends of my wife and I were pregnant. More than that, labour had begun. My wife was with her friend and I was at work. I got a text message. Essentially, things weren't going exactly to plan, and I was asked to pray. "Of course!" I said. I meant it. It was important.
I didn't though. In the moment where I agreed to pray, I couldn't. I was at work and my attention was pulled towards something where I couldn't split my focus. By the time I had the opportunity, of course, I had forgotten. By the time I did remember to pray for my friends, the request was moot. Nothing bad had happened, no one was ill or sick. Mom and baby were fine. No serious issues. The guilt I felt though was real. I said I'd pray and I didn't, and it was important and I dropped the ball. Have you ever been there? Where I was in that moment? That sense of failure and unfaithfulness? I dropped the ball.
But the Lord never drops it. God literally never drops the ball. I considered listing a number of Bible verses about how God is faithful and fulfils His promises...But then I'd just be listing most of the verses in the Bible! God is faithful. It's just what He is! That realization was a blessing to my heart. God's faithfulness isn't dependant on mine. That baby, and my friends' fates don't depend on whether or not I prayed.
This is a relief.
Now, there are a few things I want to avoid here. First, this isn't to absolve me of wrongdoing. I should have prayed because I believe people ought to do the things they commit to doing. That was certainly a failure on my part. Second, I don't want to go too far down a rabbit trail about God's sovereignty and fate. Yes, this child's fate was known before the foundation of the earth, that doesn't change the fact that I should have prayed.
But God is faithful when my faithfulness is lacking. That's my point here. Many people talk a lot about prayer, and what its purpose is. It's not to change God's mind, and it's not to ensure His faithfulness. Prayer is (among other things) about your heart. Yes, God wants us to pray for others, for the sick, for our leaders, and those who don't yet know Him. In all those things, however, God will ultimately do what He desires. God doesn't do what we want unless what we want agrees with what He wants. That's why I say prayer is about our hearts. As we pray throughout our lives, if we see and take note of how God responds with intentionality, eventually our hearts become conformed more and more to His desires. So for me, seeing God be faithful when I had failed was mind-blowing and prompted a moment of worship and repentance for me. God is faithful, even (perhaps especially) when I am not.
Amen to that.
As a Biblical conservative, a cultural Liberal, a husband, a dad, and a pastor, I want to see the church act differently in the world. My big passion in ministry is to see how believers can bring the Gospel into the world around them while pursuing the lost art of winsomeness. It is what fuels me and drives me to write. Engaging culture with the truth of the Gospel in a way that is winsome, wise, and as Colossians 4:6 directs us: “seasoned with salt.” It’s my hope that what I say here helps you not only in your own faith, but helps you share it more effectively and fruitfully.
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