James: In Prayer
Why is it that we often try to make God, and following Him, so complicated? We expect that things need to follow a certain set of steps, that the chance of success is related to how much effort we put in. And for some reason, He is only limited to fixing our ‘big’ problems. I love how James comes across with such a simplistic view of how to communicate with our Heavenly Father in this passage. If you are in trouble, pray. If there is peace, give praise. James doesn’t put on any conditions or restrictions, he just lets us know that whatever we bring to the Father in faith will be answered.
I have recently met someone who has really challenged my views on this. Growing up in a church, it was easy to just make prayer a habit. Before a meal, thank God for the food. At bedtime, just say a quick word of praise for the day. If someone was injured, ask for healing. But in talking to this friend, she has shown me that prayer is more than just asking for big things, and more than just habitual actions; prayer is having a conversation. He wants you to tell Him why you are happy, what you enjoyed from today. God is interested in helping you find car keys, or remembering directions to the party your friend is throwing. I mean, God does know everything, but He still enjoys hearing it from you. Looking back to the Garden of Eden, God regularly came to walk and talk with Adam. He made us for relationships, not just to be robots.
One of the biggest things that I have discovered in this is that if I don’t have the faith for Him to help me with the little things, how can I expect God to do the big miracles. This isn’t to say that I expect every problem to be solved because I have the faith to ask. I also know that my faith isn’t absolute, and isn’t always strong. But I do know that God will answer every prayer in His way, according to His will. Sometimes it is the healing I asked for, the solution to the problem I am facing. But just as often, it is the 10,000-foot view of what His bigger plan is, and how the current suffering is furthering His kingdom, and showing His glory, to someone who really needs it. So, the best I can do is bring everything to God, and praise Him for all of the answers He gives, whether they are the answer I am looking for or not, and to praise Him in those times when I am too blind to see the answer He has given me.