As our group returned from an association men’s event, I realized it was much later than I had anticipated. Not wanting my wife to worry, I took out my trusty cell phone to call home. After a couple of rings, I heard my own voice. It was my voice mail. After dialing several more times and getting the same results, I became frustrated. The only thing I could figure is that my granddaughter, who had been playing with my phone earlier in the day, had changed the settings of the phone.
Seeing and hearing my frustration, our driver suggested I use his cell phone. Once again I dialed the number. When I did I heard this ring, not coming from the phone in my hand but from the one in my lap. Then it dawned on me. I had been calling myself. When I realized what I had been doing, I was grateful that God had given me the ability to laugh at myself.
As I have thought about my lapse of mind, it dawned on me that I have similar experiences in my prayer life. Far too often, I go to my quiet place to pray and when I try to connect with God I fail, because I dial my own number instead. I talk about my needs, my aspirations, my ideas about how to fix other folks problems, etc. When I am finished, I get up feeling satisfied that I have fulfilled my responsibility to pray.
It is then that God speaks through the Holy Spirit and asks, “Do you remember the prayer I gave to my disciples, when they asked me to teach them to pray? It seems you forgot the “Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done” part.” It is then I realize as long as I pray according to my wants, wisdom and power, all I can hope to receive is what I can do and that is not much, when it is measured against the awesomeness of God.
The feebleness of praying in our own will is evident when we consider the promise Jesus gave us. He said, “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13, 14 NASB). I easily remember the “Whatever you ask” and the “ask anything” phrases but I am prone to forget the “in My name” requirement. When I forget, I miss the blessing He wished to give. In his book, With Christ in the School of Prayer, Andrew Murray sums it up this way: “Who can say what power a church could develop and exercise if it would assume the work of praying day and night for the coming of the Kingdom, for God's power, or for the salvation of souls? Most churches think their members gather simply to take care of and edify each other. They don't know that God rules the world by the prayers of His saints, that prayer is the power by which Satan is conquered, and that through prayer the Church on earth has access to the powers of the heavenly world. They do not remember that Jesus has, by His promise, made every assembly in His Name a gate to heaven, where His presence is to be felt, and His power experienced by the Father fulfilling their desires.”
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, help me to pray in the name of your Son, for the coming of Thy kingdom and in accordance to Thy will. Amen.”