Praying For Sunshine

Monday, August 23, 2021
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Listen while you read: "Jesus Saviour Pilot Me"1 (Lyrics)

Psalm 143:1 – Hear my prayer, O Lord. Listen when I ask for help. Answer me because You are faithful and right. (NLV)

The state of Oregon is known and loved for its verdant greenery. The source of this verdure is no secret — rain, rain, rain! Most of the time, we Oregonians satisfactorily work around this rain, but planning outdoor events can often be tricky. An example was my grandson's high school graduation in mid-June. The graduating seniors were ecstatic at the thought of a full-fledged, in-person graduation ceremony after so many months of school at home during the pandemic. The event was to be held in the football stadium — rain or shine — but the weather forecast was ominous; rain was predicted for the entire day. People came prepared, nonetheless, and after a light whisper of rain at first, raindrops began to fall in earnest, and umbrellas began to pop up all over the stadium.

The preceding day, my fervent prayer had been, "Lord, please bring good from graduation tomorrow. May it be a day that everyone can look back on with joy, regardless of what the weather does!" As I saw new graduates scattered in happy clusters all over the football field following the ceremony, I knew that my prayer had been answered. Damp graduation gowns and drooping, misshapen mortarboards hadn't dampened their spirits.

My prayers for this special event made me think of other prayers that we sometimes pray. There are the "parking space" prayers. People happily report how God provided — in answer to their earnest prayer — the perfect parking spot. Then, there are the "Dr. Jesus" prayers. Church prayer lists are filled with health concerns for healing or deliverance from pain, not necessarily for growth in faith through the trial, which would be a better focus. We may pray for the perfect job, or for the best house in the best neighbourhood. We may pray for a good grade on an exam, or for our children to be accepted at their preferred schools.

Many of our prayers are for our own wants or perceived needs. The Lord's Prayer, in contrast, as the perfect model for our prayers, gives little attention to personal concerns. The focus is, instead, on reverence for God and for His work and will on earth to be done. There is also an emphasis on our need to forgive and to be forgiven, and to withstand the wiles of Satan.

Does this mean that we shouldn't pray for good weather for an outdoor wedding, or for Uncle Joe's cancer treatment to be successful, or even for that convenient parking space? Not at all. God invites us to pray about even the minutiae in our daily lives, but we must beware of treating Him like our personal celestial genie, ready to respond to our every wish. The essential thing is to pray with an accepting heart, willing to trust God to answer as He chooses, because He knows what is best.

Prayer: Dear gracious Father in heaven, we so often pray for You to grant our requests for what we want or think we need. May we be willing to accept Your will, however You choose to answer. Amen.

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About the author:

Gail Lundquist <gail10833@gmail.com>
Beaverton, Oregon, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good advice, Gail.


    Amen. Thank you, Gail.


    Excellent devotional. You hit the nail right on the head!
    Thank you.


    Gail,
    What an encouraging way to put prayer in proper context. Thank you.


    Thank you, Gail. I like the focus of your prayer for graduation day. A much better way to approach life’s events.


    Thank you, Gail, for sharing this encouraging devotional with us. Where we live, we’ve learned to keep our umbrellas handy! Blessings.


    Well-said, great examples described wittily, the profoundness of simplicity! Thanks for writing something that sticks in the mind long after being read.


    Dear Gail, Thank you for a wonderful devotional. It helped me to realize I can pray simple help prayers for people that are suffering from different problems.


    Gail,
    Thank you for today’s devotion. Our Pastor years ago taught us to always begin prayer by giving praise first, listing the things for which you are thankful before going to a request.


    Thank you, Gail, for your contribution today for the PresbyCan.
    It reminds us, “Thy Will be Done”. We, need to be reminded of that. Your message is appreciated.
    (Canada)


    Thank you for today’s devotional. I have begun recently to start my day with the Lord’s Prayer and feel very humbled and thankful when I do so. So, it was good to read your article just supporting this. It also seems to quiet my thoughts as I move to include special prayer requests.


    Gail, Thank you for the good reminders today. I appreciated your good reminder of the Lord’s prayer’s emphasis. Jesus didn’t say, when you pray, present your long wish list and your wonderful ideas of how you want things to be. We’ve lost the concept of submission these days.
    Keep writing!


    Good morning Gail,
    What a great way to look at prayer and to remind us that the Lord’s Prayer is Jesus teaching his disciples (us) how to pray. It is great that Oregonians take their rain in stride like they do in Ireland and England. They have the most beautiful gardens because of their weather. God provides. It is also great that you remind us that God wants a relationship with us so we can talk about all our needs and wants but then we must leave it in God’s hands.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and faith with others so that we can be reminded of what is important to God for us. May you have many blessings and feel God’s love as you walk on your journey.


    Powerful!
    Thanks for sharing, Gail!
    Blessings
    (Nigeria)


    Dear Gail,
    Just a note of encouragement. I was touch by your comments about prayer in daily devotion. I have copied your devotion so I can use it someday at one of our meetings in our church.
    Keep up the good work. I know I have read your devotions before because I live close to Beaverton, Ontario, Canada.
    Keep up the good work,
    Yours in God works.


    Just returned from a family holiday, which wasn’t perfect, owing to the absence of one son and daughter-in-law due to cancer, forest fires and smoke-polluted air, lower temperatures in the air, and lower water level in the lake.
    But there were other aspects you couldn’t measure; kindness between all grandsons, helping hands, sharing of belongings, fun playing games, mealtime enjoyment around the table, hugs at least a couple of times a day, and “I love you” heard again and again!
    It was a memorable holiday!
    Thanks, Gail, for focusing on God’s gifts of goodness in your writing, as always,
    (BC)


    Dear Gail,
    I have found your devotional to be full of wisdom… so well put!
    I think you’re spot on about church prayer lists, especially. A couple of years ago (before Covid), I had recently joined an ‘established’ Bible Study group and the people were quite upset that God hadn’t answered their prayers for healing for a member of the congregation. It was as if (as you put it so well), they considered God to be their “personal celestial genie”! I really appreciated your suggestion of a better focus of praying for “growth in faith through the trial”. As I listened, it was almost as if they themselves had lost faith in God because He hadn’t granted their wish and prayer the way they wanted. I couldn’t help but think that He had given ‘ultimate healing’. When I tried to gently mention that to one of the ladies, she retorted that “THAT wasn’t what we were praying for!”… Indeed, their genie hadn’t granted their wish the way they wanted!
    Oh, to remember to pray ‘in His will’ or as you put it.
    Thanks again!

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