Thursday, December 15, 2016

Dancing with God?

Which is more fun - dancing alone or with a partner? Judging from the popularity of the TV show Dancing with the Stars, one might guess dancing with a  partner.

But why is it when we pray, we tend to be loners? I'm not referring to finding a quiet spot to pray in - after all distractions can be a nuisance. I am referring to something quite different; something not taught in many church circles.

Quite a few years back my typical mode of praying consisted of greeting God with the usual "Heavenly Father" followed by a list of what my life lacked at the moment, a monologue about what was bugging me, or if time was short, a simple request for wisdom. It might sound something like this: "Please give me wisdom in treating my patients today," or "We need new carpet. Please help me find the best deal.

I imagine most of us learned to drop our laundry list of needs in God's inbox and walk away with a "Thanks!" and an "Amen." Never did it cross my mind that God wanted to partner with me to make the best decisions using His wisdom, not necessarily mine.

Yes, God gave me a brain. But it's how I use it that makes all the difference. Romans 8:6 (Amplified translation) says that we are living in our flesh when we use sense and reason without the Holy Spirit. However, we are living by God's Spirit when He directs our thoughts (Romans 8:9). I've learned that not every logical thought that pops in my head originates with Him.

Since His ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9) and His thoughts far exceed what we can conceive with our limited human wisdom, it makes sense to access His divine directions rather than rely totally on our own human logic and reasoning without His input.

How has that changed the way I pray? I still find a quiet spot and get rid of the distractions. But now my prayers are dialogues, not monologues. Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear" (Mark 4:9). The only way to hear what God's Spirit is saying is to take time to sit and listen. 

Here's an example. I signed up for a conference out of state. I asked God what hotel I should book and saw an image of the conference hotel even though all  the rooms were booked. My second and third attempts to reserve a room also met with no success. My friends had a room so I could sleep on a cot there.There was a room available in another hotel, but the Lord had showed me specifically the conference hotel. The day before the conference, a bit nervous about my accommodations, I prayed again and got the same answer. Would God really come through at the last minute?

Uncomfortable at having my faith stretched to the max, I started out the next day on the eight hour drive.Just three hours before arriving at my destination I spoke to the hotel reservations clerk. She had a cancellation! Joy and relief flooded my heart. How awesome is God! 

 If you are looking for a New Year's resolution, why not start partnering with God to  make all your important decisions?Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice (John 10:27). But are we listening?

“Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more" (Mark 4:9, NLT). What a wonderful promise from our heavenly Father!

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