Anyone that has sincerely attempted to pray knows too well that it can be a challenge.
“Father, I thank you for…did I turn in that work assignment?…oops…sorry God….where was I?…I thank you for providing…Hey! Keep it down out there! I’m trying to pray!”
Pray? Try worshipping.
While not synonymous, they’re inextricably linked, like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Trust me on this, our devotion to the Creator of the universe can be challenging. Life’s busyness, spiritual slothfulness, the list is long.
Another contributing challenge to our spiritual devotion and consistent prayer is driven by a gap in understanding the cause-and-effect connection. That is, how we connect what we do with what we expect or has happened.
To borrow and morph Newton’s Third Law of Motion that posits for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, there’s a connection between our devotion (and the object of our devotion) with our experience and expectation.
An opposite reaction? Maybe.
Pray without ceasing? Sounds daunting. Maybe it’s just aspirational. Oh well, I’ll give it try and do my best, as long as the spiritual slot machine keeps paying-out.
Job provides a different perspective. The Bible describes Job as honest inside and out, a man of his word, who was totally devoted to God and hated evil with a passion. He was the picture-perfect example of a God-follower. Play by the rules, do and say the right things, it’ll all work out, right?
His devotion, his prayers for his family were not only not a prophylactic from life’s diseases, it was (undoubtedly) a reason for what was to come. A spiritual war was being waged. In rapid succession, Job went from being on top of the world to being atop a dung pile. Incredible loss. Unimaginable pain.
How did Job respond? He got to his feet, ripped his robe, shaved his head, then fell to the ground and worshiped.
Unlike me (and most) Job immediately understood the connection. Devotion and the object of my devotion are linked to what is happening. How is it linked? Job didn’t know. We don’t know. Oh, yes, we can guess but (again, trust me on this) WE DON’T KNOW.
As the Apostle Paul wrote,
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! (1 Corinthians 13:12, MSG)
As the spiritual intones, we’ll understand it better by and by.
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