How to Pray Can there really be a wrong way? By Debra Torres
The roads were bad, and my teenager had a feeling that going back out to his friend’s house might not be a good idea.
Already, he had practically lost control in an icy spot at the crossing of some lonely country roads.
But my son made the choice to go. He and his friends were working on a project for school, and he wanted to get it done.
The boys finished their project, and my son and a friend approached the same crossroads in our truck. It was a few hours later and probably a few degrees colder.
And the icy spot was waiting for them.
The steering and brakes were useless on it, and our truck slammed hard into the road’s icy bank.
You know things are bad when the tow truck driver comments on how messed up your vehicle is. It’s been weeks now, and our truck still waits for the mechanic’s final word – and price.
Last I heard, the amount for repair that we had to pay out of pocket was in the thousands.
Although gratefulness for my son and his friend’s safety far outweighs any dollar figure, the source of funds for the repairs remains a mystery to me. And my brain tries to figure out how God is going to get us through this one.
To tell you the truth, I’ve got a strong urge to tell God exactly how it’s to be done.
In the sermon, Smith spoke about “direct” versus “direction” prayer and explained that we get hung up on direction prayer when we attempt to tell God exactly how and when he can make things right in our lives.
Smith said, “I’m directing God on how to do His business, on how to help my problem out. I’ve got it all figured out how God can do it. You see what’s happened? I’ve figured out a way for God to help me, and my prayer no longer is a direct prayer but a direction prayer, telling Him how to do it. ‘This is how, Lord, You can do it.’”
In his sermon, Smith gives the scenario of a person telling God that winning the Reader’s Digest Sweepstakes would be the perfect way to meet his needs.
We may chuckle, but we’ve all been there haven’t we? I know I have. I often try to figure things out for God, and I’m guilty of telling Him just how to answer my prayers.
But you know what? I think that direction prayers can really damage our relationship with God. Because God’s ways are very different from ours, there’s a good chance that answers like winning the sweepstakes aren’t in his plans.
When we tell God how to answer our prayers and things don’t work out the way we think they should, we get disappointed and can easily loose faith; even turn away from the God who failed to answer our direction prayers.
I think that this is why Jesus said that we must pray according to God’s will.
Smith says, “God’s ways are often so very simple, the way He can work things out in our lives, where we look at it and think, ‘Oh, that’s just impossible.’ And yet, God has such an easy, smooth way of working it out.”
It’s important that we pray, expressing our need to God. But, I’m learning that it’s equally important to respect him enough for who he is to release the outcome to him. It’s hard, I know. But I’m guessing that it pleases him when we do it.
“God, our truck is broken – and the amount to fix it is above our means. Please provide a way – your way to accomplish this work. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Be direct. Hit your mark. And entrust it to God – whose ways may not always be easiest, but they are best.
P.S. The truck came home today. And, God has provided a way.
8 This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are my thoughts the same as yours! 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than yours.
Proverbs 3:5-6English Standard Version
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 21:30New International Version
30 There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.