Wednesday, October 19, 2016
October 19, 2016 "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning...I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears." Psalm 130:5-6, 34:4. It is unimaginable that anyone would pray, not hoping for an answer to their prayers. The very act of praying presumes the desire for a favorable answer. Yet the sad experience of many, if not most of us is that so very often our prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling unanswered. Years ago, a fellow pastor publicly mocked my friends in Lily Dale, the Spiritualist community just a few miles north of us. I had been prayer walking there for a couple years and had met many wonderful, and a few rather strange people, not unlike what anyone could run into in the Christian community. He thought it a joke that they believed they spoke with the dead, held seances, and generally encouraged a lot of New Age thinking. I didn't think his approach would endear him to anyone, was counterproductive to genuine evangelistic enterprise, and besides, I told him, "they aren't so much different than you and me. We pray to a God we cannot see, who may or may not answer our prayers. How is that any weirder to an unbeliever than what they do at Lily Dale?" Our prayers often go unanswered, and for many reasons. But as I read the above Scriptures this morning, I was convicted about my often lackadaisical approach to prayer. When was the last time I actually waited on God? I read my Bible text for the day, think briefly on it, then turn to the news or social media or the work I have planned for the day. Prayer, yes; waiting on the Lord? Not so much. I lose things all the time. I'll lay something down and forget where I put it. I know...that's a sign of old age. I prefer to think it has something to do with a creative mind, but I think Linda would disagree. Sunday I picked up my Bible after church, brought it home, and later looked all over the house for it, to no avail. Twice. Fortunately, I have more than one, but I couldn't find the one I wanted. Yesterday I got my bike out to go to town, and there it was in the sidecar trunk where I had put it Sunday. My point is this: I earnestly sought that Bible. Can I say I seek God, devoting time and attention to looking everywhere I can, where he might be found? I wish I could say that is my habit, but I would be lying. So maybe the reason many of my prayers go unanswered is simply that I am not seeking. I toss a prayer heavenward, but that's not the same as seeking the Lord. The Psalm makes a bold claim: this man sought the Lord, and got an answer. I'm thinking I should do the same. And I'm thinking of how thankful I am that God placed the solution to my unanswered prayers right in front of me this morning. It's time to seek the Lord!