Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Zero Based Prayer

I believe we can have what we ask of God. I believe the teaching of scripture in this matter is straight forward and simple. It is in aligning a reality in which we don't always get what we pray for with that teaching that a difficulty emerges. I think that is especially true when we're convinced that our request was agreeable to God's will and we thought we asked in faith without doubting. Yet, even in those apparent conditions, some prayer goes unanswered. "Sup with that!

First, let me say that our experience here was never meant to encapsulate all that has been earned by Christ and promised to us. Immortality cannot be inherited by mortality. Oh, the blessings are our's all right, bought with the price of blood (sale complete, I might add), but they are not necessarily experienced in the here and now. The tank of God's blessings is full, but we only get the splashover here and now. That's nothing to sneeze at--no mere trifle by any stretch. The tank includes eternal, disease-free, curse-free life in which we know even as we are known. Even some fraction of that looks like a lot to me! A lot more than many folks seem to settle for.

People have asked me how I can believe I'm going to get what I ask for when there have been times when my prayers haven't been answered, or at least haven't been answered yet. When I see the awesome quality and quantity that has been established for us in Christ, I just can't get hung up on what went wrong with yesterday's unanswered prayer, I concentrate on today's problems and today's prayers. Today's promise is always, "Ask what you will..." and "with God, nothing is impossible," so why let yesterday's doubt, yesterday's weakness, or yesterday's sin rob me of God's blessing today? 

When I was studying accounting, oh, so many years ago, we were taught a concept called Zero Based Budgeting. The salient feature in that system is that there is no carry over from prior period's experience in producing the next period's budget. You start with a blank slate. I approach prayer everyday from a zero based outlook. Yesterday's failures in prayer have no effect on today's promises. So, I pray expectantly, and anticipate answers, and I get more than a few, for even though I've been known to to fail in a promise, Jesus never has!


The Seeking Disciple said...

Amen! The old saints called it praying through. I hope we can learn to pray through as well. Keep seeking with me brother.

SLW said...

There's much about old saints we'd do well to emulate! ;-)

I will continue seeking, brother, thanks for the encouragement.

SLW said...

Struggle's no biggie with God. Giving up, now that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish.

Scooter said...

I have found that praying through to the point of acceptance of God's will and His sovereign decisions has been a great encouragement. Like Paul's request which was turned down 3 times there are greater desires that God, for our ultimate good and other believers' good, places in our hearts. "Delight thyself in the Lord and he shall give thee the desires of thy heart".

SLW said...

While I certainly appreciate the tenor of your comment, I don't think it gets to the substance of Christ's invitation to pray. He said, "ask whatever you will," not "wait until you figure out what I want, and then submissively rehearse it back to me." His invitation to pray is a call to express an individual's faith and see God's response, not to discipline oneself fatalistically.

There are times when capitulation to God's known or stated will is the heart of prayer (e.g. Gethsemane), but I think God's will has to be already known for that to be the case.