More Than A Vending Machine

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ahhhh! The wonderful invention of the vending machine! It conveniently stands as a beacon of contentment in most break rooms, outside stores, in school cafeterias and at gas stations. We simply slip in a few coins, make a selection, and out comes our treat. We can choose from a variety of tasty items, all perfectly designed to curb our hunger and satisfy our thirst. As long as we have change in our pockets, (and the machine still works), we know that our requests can be immediately granted and our cravings curbed.

Often we think of God as our own personal vending machine. We plunk in a prayer and expect immediate satisfaction to our requests. When the answer to our prayer is a quick “yes”, we are pleased, but when the answers we receive are seemingly slow to come or aren’t what we expect, we become disappointed. We ask for this and for that, forgetting, or not really understanding, that getting what we want isn't the true purpose of prayer. Yes, God wants to give us the desires of our hearts, but there is more behind His willingness to hear our longings.

When we pray we shouldn’t demand our own way, but rather, ask and discover what He wants for us. “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). God loves us and knows what is best for us in every situation. When we align our prayers to His will, we can pray with confidence knowing His answer is the right one. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of Him” (I John 5:14-15).

We may wonder, then, why we should pray when God already knows our every need. The answer? Prayer is the key to the heart of God. We were created to have a personal and intimate relationship with Him. Through prayer that relationship is formed and when we linger in His presence, it is cultivated and nurtured. In his book, Come Thirsty, Max Lucado writes that we should “Think of prayers less as an activity for God and more as an awareness of God.” And we should “Seek to live in uninterrupted awareness. Acknowledge His presence everywhere (we) go.” When we communicate through prayer, we are affirming the existence of God in our life and actively acknowledging Him as the source of all power. As a result, our faith increases and our relationship with Him deepens.

Jesus shows us a perfect example of prayerfulness throughout the pages of God’s Word. He was an intercessor while He was here on earth, praying for those who were sick and suffering and He prayed for His disciples and friends. He even prayed for the believers who were not yet born…including you and me. Even now, Jesus continues His ministry of intercession as He sits on His throne at the right hand of God. “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message” (John 17:20). As we come alongside Him in prayer, God allows us the incredible privilege to be participants in His answer. Through Him, our prayers have power. “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results”(James 5:16). When we allow God to use us as instruments for His glory, we will see His mighty hand do great work in our lives and in the lives for whom we pray.

Does God want us to pray for everything in our life - For strength, courage, health, jobs, our relationships and paying the bills? Yes, of course! We are His children. He loves us and wants us to bare our hearts to Him. When we go to Him in faith, with thankful hearts, we can be confident that He hears and answers all our prayers. He knows what is best for us. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

During this new year, I am excited to be "Going Deeper" in my relationship with Him. As I pray…as I keep on praying…I am confident that the God of All Creation will hear me and bless my efforts to draw near to Him. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”(Matthew 7:7).

Going Deeper,

Joan


Be sure to visit Spiritual Sundays for more devotionals whose writers pray will bless you today!

You Might Also Like

15 comments

  1. Amen Joan! Thank you for the reminder of the true blessings of prayer...a deeper, closer relationship with the GOD who loves us.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Joan, this was a great post!! I so needed to hear it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh yes, going deeper is a great desire. I'm with you on this. Prayer is something that is vital in our relationship with the Lord and yet how easy it can be to cry out when in need but not spend time required. I love how you wrote:

    "When we align our prayers to His will, we can pray with confidence knowing His answer is the right one."

    Praying back His Word is also something I'm learning.

    Loved this timely post Joan.

    Love you,
    Debbie

    ReplyDelete
  4. When I have coffee with my man in the mornings, our lives become more united. If we go stretches without one-on-one, we distance.

    Gotta keep my date with Jesus...going deeper! Love how this dovetailed my last post about Jesus' prayer in John 17. The deeper we go, the more we will be in His will and keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. <3

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a lovely read. Have a blessed Sunday.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The great mystery of prayer... who can fathom the depths of such a gift?! I'm so grateful for the privilege of talking with the Lord; you're so very right... it's a relational thing. And the discipline of prayer never ceases to bring about peace in my heart, even if only for the moment. Then I pray some more!

    Blessed Sabbath to you; may God be your portion at every turn.

    peace~elaine

    ReplyDelete
  7. Joan - this is so good. Prayer is vital if we want to go deeper. And as you pointed out, prayer isn't about getting our wants or needs met. Prayer is about communicating with our Heavenly Father and when we grow closer to Him, our desires will align with His desires for us.

    Blessings,
    Joan

    ReplyDelete
  8. A marvelous post on prayer. Thank you for sharing this insight. What a blessing it is to always be in the spirit of prayer and to know God hears us and does what is best.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

    ReplyDelete
  9. I loved your paragraph telling about you and being in "His grip" once we lose our grip and relinquish it we are right again.

    Your blog is beautiful, inspiring, and uplifting. Thanks for the visit. God bless.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Beautiful words...a great post...

    so happy to have some blog reading time while we have been snowed in...which is rare in our state....

    Happy Saturday
    teresa

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love your blog and especially this post!

    http://bowlofinspiration.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Nice analogy. Yes, we do treat God like a vending machine...like Santa Claus. We want something instantly. Great post!

    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I really loved this one, Joan. Such a great reminder of the importance of prayer. I like how you pointed out that it is really about intimate communication WITH God - not just yakking AT Him, so to speak!

    "I am confident that the God of All Creation will hear me and bless my efforts to draw near to Him."

    I couldn't agree more!!

    GOD BLESS!

    ReplyDelete

FLICKR IMAGES

create with flickr badge.

I'm a Member!