"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Praying Machines

      Confession time: Though I love God with all my heart, I am not exactly a stalwart, prayer warrior. Yes, I believe God answers prayer. Even though I can't rationalize that with His foreknowledge and sovereignty over events in our lives, the Bible says in James 5:16, (15)And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. (16)Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (17)Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.(Emphasis mine.)
      As the wise man stated, "God said it. I believe it. And that's that" Though my natural bent is to seek understanding of principles, where God's explicit commands are concerned, "That's that!"
      First Thessalonians 5:17 gives another prayer command: pray without ceasing, expanded a bit in Ephesians 6:18, With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.
      God didn't create man as a machine to obey as programmed, without question or reservation. In creating us after His image, he gave us a key divine attribute: Personal Volition. He expects us to listen to His expectations, weigh the pros and cons, then use the brains he gave us to make our own choices. Then we get to either enjoy or suffer the consequences of those choices.
      Do I feel like my prayers "change" things? No, not at all. My belief in God's sovereign desire for my best overrules any desire on my part for circumstances or material possessions to come my way. If it's good for me, it will.
      Do I pray anyway? Of course I do. Though God didn't make me a programmable machine, by God's grace, I will use what self-control I have to become His "Praying Machine."

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