PRAY IN THE STAGES

Shakespeare said “life is a stage,” and once you’ve lived it a while, it seems like the players, the rules, and the play itself are all always changing, mostly because they are. Sometimes in life we find ourselves waiting for something to happen, sometimes it would be nice if it slowed down a little bit to keep from throwing us off. Sometimes we acknowledge God, and sometimes we try to solve our own problems.

Youth is a big time for waiting for our “real life” to start. Then we make a few “adulting” decisions: get a job, pay some bills, get married, buy a house, enlist in the military, whatever those decisions might be, and before we know it, things are happening left and right faster than we can deal with them.

Whatever stage we are in in life, we are called to be faithful and obedient to God. Sometimes, in a particular situation, we’re waiting, and it’s hard to tell whether we should be acting, or keep waiting for God to act. We probably have all gone through times when we try to do all the work and “make things happen,” and times when we abandon all our responsibility and turn lazy and let God do everything without our help.

One thing we should always do is pray. Whatever we are doing in life, we always need to remember the words of Paul in Colossians 4:2, which parallel many other passages in the Bible:
“Devote yourselves to prayer. Be alert and thankful when you pray.”

We should pray. We should pray a lot. We should even pray all the time, to where our relationship with God is a focused thing we do as a constant part of our self, until it becomes a part of our being. We should pray, and we should be alert and pay attention, and then we make whatever decisions God leads us to make. All along that process, we stay thankful to God for working out his will through our prayers and our actions and our decisions, and for blessing our meager efforts with His goodness. Sometimes our answers might come quickly, sometimes they might take years to work out, but if we are praying and staying as obedient to God as we can, He will work out all the steps of our life, and sometimes give us new steps we never thought of along the way (Proverbs 3:6).

Sometimes we get it out of order. We pray a little, then we react, before God has answered it for us. Sometimes we don’t pray at all and just make the decisions on our own. He will always do a lot better job than we will. If we go through life making our own decisions, without praying, without considering what God says in a given situation in our life, then we will make a lot more mistakes. We will never learn what it means to be a true Christian, and we will miss out on the faith God wants us to have.

We as Christians and as a church need to pray. We meet for prayer on Wednesday nights. In our own lives, we need to pray in various ways the other 167 hours a week. If we want to be obedient to God, and for our lives, the waiting and the active parts, to count for God, the only way to do that is to pray and listen to what he says before we make decisions. If we fail to pray in all the things we do, then we are going to be like the builder in Matthew 7 who built his house on sand, and we’ll be like the worker laboring in futility to build a house in Psalm 127:1. Never forget we are already God’s workmanship, His house, already, anyway. We just need to remember to act like it.

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