#2 in the Prayer Series by Barbara Epp
Prayer – Initiated by God
Isn’t it wonderful that God has chosen a way to communicate with us that comes so easily? Prayer is one of the most natural things to us as human beings. One of my greatest pleasures is to find myself talking with God!
For years, though, when I thought of prayer, I saw it as an obligation; something that should be diligently initiated by me if I was a good Christian. I will never forget the day that God decided it was time for me to learn another true perspective on prayer. As with all revelations from God, the insight changed my life and proved to be a critical step in my understanding of prayer.
Once again I was struggling with God! Over the years I had found myself having discussions or arguments with God. It seemed to me that often God didn’t get quite right how my path should go! It didn’t seem to make a difference that He had always proven right in the past, this time He had definitely got it all wrong!!
I was in agony before the Lord and resentful of His absence and silence in the midst of the crisis. Since I was afraid to give voice to my resentment it took me well over an hour before I dared to make my complaint. Rocking back and forth in my easy chair, I simply mulled it over and felt increasingly sorry for myself. Eventually, my complaints poured forth like a torrential river as I listed my faithful efforts to address the circumstance. I was amazed to hear myself defend my personal credits before God but once the dam had been broken there was no stopping the flow. It was obvious to me that I had done my very best and God was unfeelingly absent!
I was amazed at something else. Why didn’t God strike me dead for being so brutally honest and for being so critical of Him?! To the contrary, as I wound down I had a growing sense of the presence of Jesus. Not only was He near, He seemed to be kneeling beside my easy chair, lovingly stroking my hand!
As my argument finally ran dry, I had the sense that Jesus had been graciously waiting for me to finish! In response to my litany of personal faithfulness my heart heard Him say: “That’s right, Barbara, you did all those things and much more than you remember! BUT, do you know WHY you did those things?” The Spirit then opened my eyes to see my wonderful Father ‘high and lifted up’, sovereign and loving.
He said, as I saw beautiful, white fluted columns rising to the heavens, “These represent the many prayers that you have prayed. Not one of them has fallen before Me and I am going to answer above and beyond what you have thought to pray!” He then informed me that the only reason I had even thought of the prayers I had prayed was because I had ‘glimpsed dimly’ what I had seen in my Father’s heart!!!
As I absorbed this amazing fact, the words that came out of my mouth were, “Thank You, Father, for what you are going to do!” My perspective had been changed forever and I became aware that when I felt like praying it was because God had initiated that prayer. What a faith builder! I was to learn more amazing perspectives….