No matter what season of life you find yourself in, there are huge longings. We want something to be different. We want someone to be better. We want those we love to be thriving. Last week, I raised the issue of how often we try to “help God out” in fulfilling our longings. However, we learn from the pages of Scripture that people’s plan B hardly ever brought blessing and almost always brought pain. Jacob and Esau or Rachel and Leah alone give examples of families torn apart by plan B decisions.
So, how do we avoid the same trap?
Back in Genesis 24, after Abraham’s servant asked him about a plan B for finding Isaac a wife, the story turns. The servant headed back to Abraham’s hometown to fulfill his master’s request. What he does next serves as a great lesson for me. Read for yourself…
And he said, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. Behold, I am standing by the spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Let the young woman to whom I shall say, ‘Please let down your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master.” (Genesis 24:12-14)
Now, to say that we should pray to avoid making compromises seems a little underwhelming! I already pray and you probably do, too. But what I noticed was how both proactive and specific the servant’s prayer was. Now, please hear me: God is not a genie in a bottle. But… a) we often only pray when something doesn’t work… and b) we frequently pray generically. Here, the servant is asking in advance and he’s asking for undeniable clarity.
It’s hard to know when God answers a generic prayer, but it’s very easy to know when He answers a specific prayer.
- Where do you need to look ahead and begin to pray in advance?
- What’s on your calendar that you usually just show up at without having really asked God to show up?
- What conversations do you enter into without first going before the Lord and asking Him to lead?
If we really believe that God hears and answers our prayers, then we need to take advantage of the opportunity that we have to ask the God of the universe to make our path straight and to show us clearly.
Let’s get praying.