24/7: 6am — Wait in Expectation

Posted: January 12, 2012 by clairer in 24/7, Prayer

Maybe it’s just me, but the world seems so much bleaker at 6am. It’s usually dark outside — sometimes cold and rainy — and I’m often sleepy and drowsy with a day of work and classes ahead of me. Every once in awhile — like on my birthday or Christmas — I wake up with an excited sense of anticipation for the events of the day ahead; but more frequently, I only anticipate the daily routine of homework and classes. Nothing particularly exciting…nothing particularly special…

When I get up in the morning and start to pray, my prayers can fall into a usual routine too. “Heavenly Father, give me strength to make it through today, bless my friends and my family, and help me to grow to be more like You.” Of course, my prayers vary from time to time. If I have a test that day, I might pray that God will help me to do well; or, if one of my friends is sick, I might ask for healing. However, the point is, often times praying — and my prayers themselves — can become a part of my dry, everyday, non-exciting routine. But…does this really glorify God?

In some ways, we could say that yes, it does. Simply by virtue of praying, I am glorifying God by humbly expressing my dependence on Him and my belief that He can both hear me and provide for me. By both expressing my helplessness and by acknowledging who God is, I am already glorifying Him.

However, I think I too often stop short of glorifying God to the extent that I can through my prayers. By allowing my prayer time and my prayers to become dry and routine, I fundamentally reduce God’s glory in my own eyes and deny myself the oportunity to see God’s power at work in my life and in the lives of those around me.

See, routine prayers say a lot about what I believe. As Matthew 12:34 says, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” First, routine prayers often tend to be very general. It’s as though I believe God is either uninterested in the specifics of my life or He isn’t able to handle anything more than the basics of my life. It is almost as if these prayers need to help God out. As long as I pray broadly, God will be able to answer that prayer in some way or form. It’s almost a safety net to keep me from being disappointed by an distant or weak God. But we don’t serve a weak God, and to pray in such a way makes God small in our eyes.

Instead, we should let the specificity of our prayers be a testament to the awesome power and ability of our God to do anything and everything. Instead of praying simply for spiritual growth, pray for specific manifestations of grace — increased patience, service, and sensitivity. Instead of just praying for strength for the day, pray for specific parts of the day — wisdom and grace for certain conversations, perseverance and productivity for papers, safety for travels. By doing this, we glorify God by acknowledging His greatness.

Praying specifically and earnestly glorifies God in another way too: by opening our eyes to answered prayers. The danger of routine praying is the same as waking up to the routine day I described earlier — you don’t expect anything new or exciting to happen. But this is fundamentally different from the way that David prayed in Psalm 5. In this Psalm, David says, “In the morning, I lay my request before God and wait in expectation.” David doesn’t lay his request before God and then move on with the rest of his day completely forgetting what he prayed about that morning. He waits in expectation — anticipating answer to prayer, looking for them throughout the day.

By praying specifically, we provide ourselves with the opportunity to see God at work. Sure, it’s neat when we pray every day that God would direct our steps in our life and then one day we get the opportunity to start a new job. But doesn’t it fill you with so much more  awe when you are specifically asking God about whether you should pursue an internship for the next semester and then that very day an email comes asking you to apply for an internship at an organization? It is so obviously a work of God and an answer to prayer. It causes us to praise and thank God because we specifically see God’s hand at work. It builds our faith for future prayers. All these things glorify God.

So, although prayer in and of itself glorifies God, it holds the potential to do so much more than we often let it. Our prayers can be so much greater, more exciting, more fulfilling, and more God glorifying if we simply take the time to pray genuinely  and specifically, and then wait in expectation.

24/7: Learning to Glorify God All Day, Every Day (Series Introduction)

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Thanks for sharing this, Claire… it is exactly what the Lord has been laying on my heart lately: to pray and then live in the expectation that He will answer those prayers. Your post was a good reminder. 🙂

  2. Kathy Rossell says:

    Just read this last night, and thought of your post:

    “Unfortunately, our degree of trust in God often lies more in our ability to foresee a way in which He might answer our prayers than in our belief in His power. If we can’t see HOW He can can answer, we tend to doubt that He WILL answer.” – Jerry Bridges in The Joy of Fearing God.

    I think you have an excellent point – that our lack of specificity in our prayers can, at times, reveal a lot about what we do – or don’t – believe about God. Thanks for the reminder.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s