My husband and I scheduled a few days’ rest at a friend’s condo about 470 miles from home. When the weatherman promised sunshine and warm temperatures, we decided to ride our motorbike rather than drive the car.
Typically, I work on my laptop when we drive long distances in the car. So, riding on the motorbike meant foregoing work time and, instead, enjoying 13-14 hours mulling over creative ideas for future writing projects and praying for family, friends, ministry opportunities, and physical/practical needs.
Those of you following my blog or Facebook page know we’re trusting God to bring a reliable renter for our townhouse so we can move to the residence directly above our ministry’s new office location. Ideally we hope to move on May 2nd. So far, though, we still don’t have a renter, and for financial reasons we can’t make that move until one appears. And so we wait, pack our belongings, and pray.
During the motorcycle ride, I caught myself slipping repeatedly into prayers like this: “God, please bring a renter this weekend. You know what our May schedule looks like, and You know that moving after the first weekend isn’t going to work well for us. So please bring us a renter within the next few days so we can plan accordingly. Please do this, okay?”
Suddenly a spiritual aha moment hit me.
I was pleading with God to work in my situation based solely on my human understanding. Maybe (ya think?) He knows something about our May schedule that we don’t know. Perhaps He knows it’s best for us to wait a few weeks. Maybe a few necessary puzzle pieces have yet to fall into place.
It also dawned on me that my prayer—repeated many times in the weeks prior to this motorcycle ride—might be considered spiritual babble.
Matthew 6:7,8 says, “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”
Even though God tells us to persevere in prayer, I wonder if we sometimes cross an invisible line from persistence to panic-type praying. We figure that the more we repeat our requests, the more likely God is to hear and answer them. Our prayers turn to subconscious efforts to twist His arm into giving us what we think we need. Reality is, He already knows our needs. Bringing them to Him in prayer has nothing to do with convincing Him to grant them but everything to do with acknowledging our dependence on Him to meet them in His way and His time.
And so, as we motored the miles away over the weekend, my prayer morphed into one sounding like this: “Father, I praise You for Your sovereignty and power and wisdom. You know what our May schedule looks like and when it’s best for us to move. You know the renter’s name and circumstances, and You’re fitting the puzzle pieces together as we wait. I praise You for being the blessed Controller of all things, and I look forward to seeing what You’re going to do in this situation.” A sense of delighted anticipation replaced any hint of angst as I changed my prayer from repetitive babble to surrendered supplication.
How does my experience resonate with you? Can you relate to praying repetitive babble? Share your insights, okay? I love the opportunity to learn and grow together.