I don’t know how many of us pray and seek God’s face concerning a particular matter then end up tackling the situation man solo. (Taking up the matter on our own steam,apart from God). Sometimes prayer is only plan A in list of several competing plans. We quickly move on to plan B before the tears we shed while praying even dry up. I consider having prayer as the last resort to be as unfruitful as putting prayer in a list of competing plans. Prayer is supposed to be our only option.
I recently realized that am that kind of person who always has plan A to D. This is because I do not like surprises or disappointments.Especially the ones life has to offer.I prefer being prepared for as many possible outcomes as possible to just waiting for God’s answer and so I make plans A to Z. This is so as to prevent life from happening to me or feeling incapable and defeated. So if plan A doesn’t come through, I got B,C,D…..This in turn gets me anxious in situations where the outcome is unpredictable or times where its impossible to have multiple plans. For example, I was supposed to sit for my Medical Board exam in February, but because of the doctors strike, the exam was postponed til further notice breeding anxiety galore. I didnt know if I was studying for an exam that was coming next week or next year.
“should I read one chapter per day or the whole book??”
“What are the chances I will be ready for this exam?”
“Will I remember these things am cramming?”
These are only some of the questions my mind was churning out.
I came to realize that its actually possible to pray and worry at the same time .“Wait.What?”.I thought that doesn’t happen.It did .And guess why? because seeking God’s face was among a bunch of things that I could do to get rid of my anxiety. I was seeking God’s face only as a coping mechanism to treat my anxiety. God is not pleased when he sees this.You know that thing we do, we pray then go out and out of desperation try to look for anything that works.?. yeah, I know you do. I came across this chapter in psalm
Psalm 127 (King James Version; KJV)
1“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain”.
2 “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep”.
The first verse doesn’t literally mean that God builds the house, but meant that God will build the house without our laboring, that God will guard the city without the watchman staying awake and that He will give us bread without us toiling for it. Be it businesses, be it studying, be it relationships, marriage.you name it. Unless God holds our world together, we crumble. Even if we put in our very best. Does that mean we stay idle and wait?. Not at all. Laziness is clearly condemned in the Bible. To put it in Charles Spurgeon’s words
“There is no stronger and more forceful principle for fetching out the energy of a man that his conviction that God is with him. If God works in me to will and do of His good pleasure, then natural result is that i must work out what He has worked in”.
And using preparation to preach a sermon as an example he said,”I study the sermon as much as if the work of preaching is dependent entirely upon myself.And i go to the pulpit relying upon the spirit of God knowing that it does not depend upon myself but upon Him”.
So the next time we go before God in prayer and cast our burdens and worries at His feet, may we leave them there where they belong. And go on living lives of thanksgiving knowing that “All things work together for God to those who love the Lord”.