Do we treat God too tritely–like He exists to do our will?
My daughter made a video this week about all the stupid graphics she sees on Instagram and Facebook, and I thought she was spot on. I want to comment on how some of this has to do with marriage, too, but watch it for yourself first:
If you don’t have time to watch the whole thing (but you SHOULD!), then I want to talk about from 2:50 to 3:50 of the video, so just watch that.
Okay, are you back?
So let’s talk about this one:
(PS: Sorry, Katie, for catching you with that expression).
I’ve talked about this issue before: certainly we are to pray, and certainly prayer is a big part of the battle. And certainly we are to seek first the kingdom of God, and then all these things will be added unto you.
But that in no way means that we are always to sit back and wait and never do anything.
Yes, there are times when God asks us to wait and just watch Him work. I’m reminded of the stories in 1 Chronicles 14:8-17. David has two battles with the Philistines, and both times he asks God if he should go up and fight. The first time God says, “Go, I will deliver them into your hands.” But the second time God says something different. He says:
Do not go directly after them, but circle around them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. 15 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move out to battle, because that will mean God has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.
So the first time David and his men fight a fierce battle that God helps them win, but the second time they just watch, and God does His work first, and they just mop up.
Sometimes God asks us to hold back and wait, and sometimes God asks us to go ahead and fight with all our might. In both cases it is God who brings about the victory; but He asks us to do different things at different times.
This idea that we should just pray and then do nothing is very unbiblical.
Yes, there are times God asks us to do nothing. But that is not ALL the time. And sometimes He actually wants us to act.
I can’t tell you which is which in your marriage. God may want you to draw some clear boundaries and say, “no more!” God may want you to sit back and keep praying, because He has more preparatory work to do in both you and your husband. God may be asking you to give up a dream and let Him bring about something better, or He may be asking you to pursue a dream with all of your energy, because He has put that dream on your heart.
The only way to know which is which is to remain in prayer. We need to spend time with God, talking to God and listening to God and reading His word, so that we hear Him.
Here’s what happens with me, just to make this a little more practical:
I spent a few weeks last year trying to get an answer to something. I felt like God had promised me something but it wasn’t happening, and I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to pray or what I was supposed to do about it. I was reading in my devotions and this phrase struck me:
In those days and at that time.
It was just those few words. But they hit me like a thunderclap. And I just felt God saying: “this is not the time yet–but the time will come.”
I wasn’t actually reading a Bible passage about prayer, or about waiting, it was just a phrase. But I knew, when I read that phrase, that it was meant for me. So it’s not always that we read the Bible and the story itself applies. Sometimes we’re just really guided in a specific direction.
Here’s another thing:
When I have something big on my mind, I tend to pray when I’m going to sleep or when I wake up in the middle of the night. I used to feel badly falling asleep when praying, but then I thought about all the times I’ve fallen asleep while just chatting with my husband while snuggling. It’s an intimate relationship, and I like my last thoughts of the day being about Keith. So why wouldn’t God appreciate it if, as I’m lying down and searching for peace, my mind turns to Him? And when I wake up in the middle of the night, instead of worrying or daydreaming, I just pray.
Often I just get pushed in a certain direction. But I’ve found that by putting prayer so much more naturally into my day, it’s easier to know what it is that I’m supposed to do.
I hope you liked Katie’s video, and I know she’d appreciate it if you shared it!
But in the meantime, let me know in the comments: How do you hear God’s voice? How do you figure out if it’s time to act on something or if it’s time to wait?