I turn to the back of my journal where the prayer list is long and new requests crowd the margins of the page. I’m in the season of life where the things I document are most certainly the things I remember best. When I commit to pray, I give my word and desire to be faithful to do what I say I will.
There’s a predictable pattern in my prayer and quiet time. I start at the top of the list, work to bottom and then circle clockwise around the edges.
I slowly and prayerfully recite each entry. The Spirit brings to mind the stories beneath the written words and then I lift before the Father burdens of broken-heartedness, uncertainty, and fear.
The needs range in size and urgency: strength and provisions for the day, discernment and wisdom, healing and restoration, and of course those situations so full of pain I know only a holy and divine intervention would redeem them.
At the close of my prayer time, I lay my hand on the page and ask my God Who provides, Who sees and knows all about everything, to work out His perfect will at this moment, in this day, for His glory.
This morning, my familiar pattern of prayer is disrupted with a fresh revelation of an old and dear passage in Thessalonians. As I read it, each word sticks like super-glue and the phrases wallpaper my heart from end to end.
Pray without ceasing…
Give thanks in all circumstances…
This is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
How simple and to the point it is.
Three direct commands and the one absolutely straightforward reason why I must obey them. It’s His will for me in Christ Jesus.
It’s time to pray, but I’m compelled to ‘fast from the ask.’
I open my journal and I see this frequently visited page and how different it appears. I release a flow of thanksgiving and everything that comes to mind I return to God with deep gratitude. I return all of it, even the really hard stuff. Once it starts – it’s hard to stop.
I resume my past practice of reciting each entry, but the Spirit has me in a different place.
I don’t elaborate or impose my thinking on what God should do in these situations or in the lives of these people. I resist ‘asking’ Him to take care of the details by walking Him through my version of them. Instead, I acknowledge He is God, the author and owner of every detail in creation. I forbid my words to create an expectation in an outcome God may never intended to have life.
I rejoice that He is God, the Almighty at work. No matter what, God’s thinking and ways are so much higher than mine. He knows these people and their situations. His compassion and love for them far surpasses my tiny capacity.
I lay my hand on the page. Today I praise the God Who provides, Who sees and knows all about everything. I rejoice in His perfect will at this moment, in this day, and how all of life leads to His glory.
I am present to indescribable peace, joy, and confidence. Love abounds.
He promises ALL things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. He promises to never leave or forsake us. I proclaim He is Who He says He is.
Oh Lord, You are God. You alone are sovereign and able.
I believe, rejoice, and give thanks. I humbly adore you.
Everything is different for me now. I’ve visited a place, where by God’s grace, I’ll never leave. It’s so sweet I can’t help but want you to come there with me.
So today, I encourage you to make this the day you intentionally ‘fast from the ask.” Go ahead and try it. Obey God’s will, as it’s been ordained in this one, clear, and concise verse. Then come back and let us know what He had waiting there for you.
Living to serve,