The Things We don’t Pray About

There are things I don’t pray about.

It’s not as if I don’t believe they’re matters important enough for prayer.  They are simply situations that escape the attention of my prayers.

I find myself frequently asking, “Why didn’t I pray about that?”

Like yesterday for example.  My hubs returning home from work, sat on the couch to read through the day’s mail.  There was hemming and hawing and a final, “They rejected our request.”  Initially, I didn’t have any idea what he was talking about.  That is until he reminded me we were waiting to hear from the medical review board about approval for an important test for my son—one that a doctor had requested, but our insurance had denied.  The review board had sided with the insurance company.  In the time this was all being decided, I had not prayed one.single.prayer about it.  Not even a quick dime store firecracker prayer—you know the one; you light it quickly and before you blink the show is over.  {Oh the disappointment of those cute little firecrackers—their packaging promises so much bang for the buck…but that’s another post.}

Before you judge me for being a bad mom or a bad pray-er, let me beat you to the punch.  I feel horrible that I forgot to pray about something that could have such an impact on my boy’s life.   Only a bad mom would not be thinking about the outcome of that test night and day.  Only a bad pray-er would neglect to include this on the list of things to beseech of God.

It’s not as if I don’t have a prayer life at all.  I do.  Every morning I pray for the hubs while he drives to work.  We live in L.A.—those freeways are dangerous!   I pray for my kids—mostly that they will stay out of trouble.  {Just being honest.} Every day I pray I won’t waste my life.  I don’t neglect to pray for my mom to be strengthened in her cancer, for a nephew to be safe in war, for my sister’s heart to find peace in trial, for a friend to experience the light of God’s countenance, that a young girl I know will be healed of chronic illness.  I pray for Israel, the persecuted church, the local church.  I’ve been casting care upon the Lord for a friend enduring a personal change that is trying, for a friend who needs a new job, for another friend for whom I have the fear of God as it relates to unrepentance, for a friend’s daughter who has walked away from her faith, and for precious ones still searching for a love I know can be met in Jesus.

But it bugs me that I forget to pray about other important stuff too.  Poor President Obama hardly gets any airtime.  I know the children fighters in the Congo need my prayers, but do not get them.  My son wanted me to pray that he would get into the new dorms in the fall—but he got in without one.single.prayer from me.   When he got his dorm assignment, again I thought, “Why didn’t I pray about that?”

The answer could be as simple as I just need to keep a better prayer list.  Yet it’s possible that there is a deeper theological issue.  I know that God is sovereign.  He is going to have His way and promote His glory in our lives.  I profoundly trust Him that in the routine and extraordinary {be that extraordinarily good or extraordinarily challenging}—He will bring about good {as He defines it, not as I do} in my life.   Yet in His sovereignty of the routine and the extraordinary, I know He is teaching me to trust Him—with everything.  And this is precisely why I so struggle with disappointment over the things I did not pray about.  He gave me an opportunity trust Him and I didn’t. 

Prayer—beyond the simple definition of “talking to God”—is an excellent litmus test for what and how much we are trusting God.  The question of “Why didn’t I pray about that?” may be interpreted, “Why am I not trusting the Sovereign God with that?”

Theologically speaking, sovereignty misunderstood can make us passive, even lazy.  Our rational can be something like this, “Seems like God’s got it all figured out—we can just hang lose and let Him do what He was going to do.  Why bother praying—He’s sovereign.  What good will my prayers do?

Sovereignty rightly understood should cure us of spiritual apathy at best, and fatalism at worst.  God’s sovereignty ought to invite us into the chamber of greater worship and trust.  Prayer is the doorway into which we can engage with the One whose hand is at work in all things.  Through prayer, God invites us to the conversation—a place where He can give us His heart for His good and perfect will.   Yes, He does have it all figure out but He wants to share it with me—and you, as we demonstrate our trust in Him through prayer.  Prayer let’s me hear God’s heart, so that in the happenings of life I hear His will keeping the beat and rhythm.  Prayer is what helps this heart understand that Sovereignty is on a purposeful march and not just a fatalistic inevitability.

This week I have taken the test and come up short.  I’m missing out on opportunities to trust God.  He is finding me in those lazy places where I am resting in self-sufficiency, callousness, and neglect.  That can change today.

Dear Sovereign Lord, don’t let me miss you at work today.  May I hear your heart today.  Help me to trust you.  Amen.    

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