Christianity 201

May 31, 2015

God’s Higher Purpose

Applegate Christian Fellowship

A couple of times yesterday, I came across the name Jon Courson who is a pastor at Applegate Christian Fellowship in Oregon and has a podcast called Searchlight.  This is a sample of his daily devotional online, which you can read at this link.  (The picture is the outdoor amphitheater they use in the summer.)

Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Romans 8:26 27

I spent some time this week with a man in his early thirties who is on his deathbed. The body of this young man, once a good athlete and a vibrant father, is now racked by cancer. His family asks, understandably, ‘Why? Why doesn’t the Lord just take him Home? Why the suffering? We prayed for his healing and that didn’t happen. What’s the Father doing?’

In those situations, you wonder. I understand the family saying, ‘Take him Home.’ But what if, in these final days of our brother’s difficulty and suffering, the Father is putting on the final touches of the inner person shaping and molding what he will be for the next billion years in Heaven? Is that what’s happening? I don’t know, for, like Paul, I know not how to pray. The only thing I do know is that I don’t know.

Let us ever remember that while prayer is to be directed to God, it is not to be directing God. Most people, at least for part of their pilgrimage, try to direct the Lord, thinking that’s what prayer is about. ‘Let me explain the situation, Lord. Here’s what you need to do …’ we say with great piety and audacity.

Jeremiah, a godly man to be sure, prayed, ‘Save Your people, Lord. Restore the nation. Revive us.’

‘Quiet thyself,’ answered God. ‘I will not hear your prayer, for I have determined that My people must be carried into Babylon, into captivity,’ (Jeremiah 20:4).

Thus, regardless how hard Jeremiah prayed, God had a different plan, for it was through their captivity that Judah was finally healed of her affinity for idolatry.

‘We know not how to pray,’ said Paul. We feel this as well, don’t we?

Someone comes to us and says, ‘Pray I’ll get the job.’ ‘Pray this project will prosper.’ Wait a minute. So many things I thought would be wonderful proved to be detrimental, a distraction, a curse; and so many things I thought would be terrible and awful proved to be a huge blessing.

The same is true nationally. It might be that the Lord wants to close us down. That’s a possibility. Maybe the best thing that could happen to our country would be a collapse economically, politically, militarily — because that’s what it might take to heal us spiritually. I don’t know. I’m not God. Therefore, I’m not going to give Him direction on what He should or should not do. Instead, I just groan, ‘Lord, You see what’s going on in the nation. You see what’s going on with that person. You see what’s going on in our congregation. I don’t know how to pray. I don’t know what Your will is. But I just give it all to You to work out according to Your perfect and beautiful plan.’

Now, if we don’t know how to pray, then why pray at all? Understand this: Prayer is not getting my will done in Heaven. Prayer is getting God’s will done on earth. It’s not me giving directions to the Father, but rather me saying, ‘Father direct me. I open the door for You to work. I hold up this need for You. I place this situation in Your hand’. I do this all through prayer because the Word tells us that God has chosen to work through prayer, and that if we do not pray we will limit what He would do, what He could do, what He desires to do (James 4:2).

Therefore, if I don’t pray, I will never know if God got His way with Peter John, or in this congregation, or in our nation. But if I do pray and say, ‘Lord, here’s the situation. I’m not directing You, but I’m just looking to You to have Your will done’ — then I can be at peace. Whatever happens, I know I played my part; I opened the door, and since the Father knows best, I can rest. The Spirit groans through me, the Son intercedes for me, and the Father will do what’s right concerning me — but if I don’t pray, I’ll always wonder if things would have been different if I had.

This Daily Devotional is an excerpt from the book “A Days Journey” by Pastor Jon. “A Days Journey” is a collection of 365 short devotions from the New Testament.

2 Comments »

  1. Mature and clear thinking on prayer.

    Comment by ghartwell2014 — May 31, 2015 @ 7:25 pm | Reply

  2. This is sooo powerful!

    Comment by Twisile — June 1, 2015 @ 2:49 am | Reply


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