In my mind, I see myself rushing at every obstacle and prayer request like David did at Goliath. I want to be shouting, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!” (1 Samuel 17:45-47 NLT) Okay, maybe not the killing and cutting off your head part, but I would definitely like to pray with the authentic faith and reliance on God’s word David showed. I have to admit that most of my prayers have a selfish motivation, I am usually trying to protect my heart, or someone else’s from being hurt… again. I usually picture God rushing in and making all the problems and struggles go away. And He doesn’t stop there; he puts everything back to ‘my normal.’ I know it’s not how God works, but it’s where I start. And I am glad He is patient with me as I slowly get on the same page as His perfect plan.
David’s battle cry was in ‘the Name of God, the Lord of Heavens’ armies!’ With great confidence, he pressed forward under the banner of God’s authority, and with his heart fixed on victory, David’s aim was true, causing the giant to fall before him. David’s faith was in who God is, and with the understanding, His word is truth. It’s this knowledge applied to his desire to honor the Lord that thrust aside every distraction and fear… and that’s what I want my prayers to be like. It doesn’t matter who responds or chooses to join in; I just want God’s name to be glorified regardless of the circumstances or outcome. The more I pursue this desire; the further my mind follows Christ into the garden that fateful night of betrayal and sacrifice. Paul describes Christ as “offering prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue Him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He too learned obedience from the things He suffered.” (Hebrews 5:7-8 NLT) Three times that night, He pursued our Heavenly Father, with a question about another way, and yet, each time He confirmed the Father’s will was perfect for the salvation of all mankind. That’s the confident faith I want when I pray, but I am glad the requirement God has is only ‘a faith the size of a mustard seed,’ because that’s all I have most times.
As for taking stuff away and making life easy, I have learned these past months and years, that is not usually God’s plan; like Paul, I plead with God for what’s in my heart, and “each time He says, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” Naturally, it’s not what I always want to hear; I want those I pray for to succeed, win, heal, fight, know joy, and peace and love. I want them to stop hurting, I want to stop hurting… but all these things I want don’t always let God’s amazing grace and wondrous love shine vividly; our weakness does though. If we are willing to humble ourselves in our weakness like Christ did throughout His whole ministry and walk through the fire towards the cross, confident that God has everything under control, God’s name will be glorified, and my faith will mature. “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NLT)
I am better at this than I was yesterday, but not as strong as I hope to be tomorrow when another opportunity arises to trust God more. A friend sings a song about God as a weaver; it comes from a poem written by Corrie Tenboom. In it is a lyric that says, “When the trials of life unravel the fabric of our plans, and we face the deep confusion of painful circumstance when our feeble strength is broken, and we stand with empty hands, That’s when the Father whispers, ‘trust the pattern I have planned.’” That trust in His word, no matter how quiet it is spoken, is where the certainty of our hopes is anchored and causes us to rush in with God at every giant in our lives. With the assurance of His promises, I can pray for healing, success, and victory for those God lays on my heart, and I can be confident He hears every word. But more than what I want, I know His perfect design is being accomplished. And one day, he will flip the tapestry over and reveal His reasons why, and He will show how the “dark threads are as needful in the weaver’s skillful hand, as the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.”
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church.