Bright Saturday: One More Prayer

Just yesterday a young friend of mine faced one of the many quandaries of life, one more of those tricky quandaries that make us feel like a wishbone, jerked between what is right for us and what others say is right for us.

For years my friend had participated in this group in order to do an activity she truly loves.  Recently, the group had begun pushing her and nagging her to do something on a timeline they thought would be appropriate.

My young friend understands herself extremely well.  She knew their timeline would not work for her.  After all, she knows that the timeline the world expects is not the timeline God expects.

How many times have we heard people asking five-year-olds, “Is he your boyfriend?”

Or they say, “Oh, how sweet you are to that little girl.  Is she your girlfriend?”

Why are they asking children about an adult relationship?  They are pushing the world’s timeline.

The world’s timeline is not God’s timeline.  The world’s timeline should not be our own timeline.  Just because the world thinks something should happen at a certain age does not mean we should think that.

Needing Guidance

Rockwell, Freedom of Worship 1943.jpg
Norman Rockwell’s Freedom of Worship, from 1943. No bullies here: “Each according to the dictates of his own conscience.”

My young friend put up with the group’s nagging (actually, it seems more like bullying) just so she could continuing doing this activity she loved.  Then came the last straw:  a note, that she recognized as manipulation, laying blame for her reticence on someone else rather than her own knowledge of herself.

That note backfired.

She decided, on her own, that the group was wrong.  After all, even though she’d been with them once a week for several years, they didn’t really understand the timeline she was following.  She didn’t want to quit the activity.  Yet she was so tired of their pushing.

“Take a brief break,” we advised.  “Go back in a little while.”

“But they’ll just keep pushing me.  And I want to do my activity.”

“Take a brief break and look around for alternatives in the meantime.”

After a couple of hours searching, we found three alternate solutions.  The benefit of these solutions that she had not previously considered investigating:  the activity would now cost her less money.  She would save more.

Yet she hesitated.

Praying for Guidance

When she went to bed, she prayed to God for more guidance before she dropped off to sleep.  And woke up with her solution.

Prayer is a conversation with God.  The things that we bring up with friends and family are the same things that we can bring up with God.

The Bible contains more examples of prayers than we can list:  the model Lord’s Prayer, prayers of thanksgiving and praise, and prayers that others will get what comes to them.  (Think about Jonah’s angry prayer after Ninevah’s repentance.)

We pray for things we want, answers to questions (even though we may want a “yes” and God says “no” or “wait”), and more help for others.

And we can pray for guidance.

David also prayed for guidance.

Psalm 143:1-10

Hear my prayer, O Lord, Give ear to my supplications.  Answer me in Your faithfulness, in Your righteousness! [1]

And do not enter into judgment with Your servant, For in Your sight no man living is righteous. [2]

For the enemy has persecuted my soul;  He has crushed my life to the ground;  He has made me dwell in dark places, like those who have long been dead. [3]

Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;  My heart is appalled within me. [4]

I remember the days of old;  I meditate on all Your doings;  I muse on the work of Your hands. [5]

I stretch out my hands to You;  My soul longs for You, as a parched land.  Selah. [6]

Answer me quickly, O Lord, my spirit fails;  Do not hide Your face from me, Or I will become like those who go down to the pit. [7]

Let me hear your lovingkindness in the morning;  For I trust in You;  Teach me the way in which I should walk;  For to You I lift up my soul. [8]

Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies;  I take refuge in You. [9]

Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God;  Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. [10]

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