Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Prayer at the Ocean

You need to know something about me to understand this story. I Love The Ocean. I Love The Beach. I Love The Smell. I Love The Sand. I Love the Sunshine. I Love The Ocean! I only can afford to visit it once or twice a year but Husband tries to make sure that happens for me.

This past weekend Best Friend had rented a house by the Ocean. She invited me down for a few days of their week because she loves me and that is why she is my Best Friend. In fact almost anyone can be my best friend by inviting me to the beach…I’m easy like that. But she is my Best Friend for putting up with my crap too, so only she gets her name capitalized.

The day I arrived it was raining. The next day it poured. I was so disappointed. I love the ocean but can enjoy it much more in the sunshine. As I sat on the beach at 10:00 the first morning there were thick clouds everywhere. The weather report said it was to rain all the days that we were to be there.

I sat there and realized that I could pray about this. I could ask God for sunny weather. But I didn’t. Here is what I remember praying. “Father, I love you. Thanks for letting me have the time to come here. I would really rather that it be sunny but you know what? I am going to trust you with this one. I just want the time with you today and tomorrow. If it rains, I will just spend the time with you. If it is sunny – the same. Come and be a part of my days here at the ocean.” I sat in peace….content.

Guess what? By 2:00 that afternoon the sun came out and stayed out the whole time we were there. The whole time!! We could sometimes see heavy dark clouds to our North and heavy dark clouds and rain to our South. But right where we were on the Outer Banks coast – it was glorious.

Now this did a few things in me. Had I prayed for sunny skies, I would have been proud (and amazed) that my “prayer worked.” I would have hit the “prayer jackpot” in some way. Know what I mean? Had it rained after I had prayed for sunny skies I would have been tempted to think that God did not like me, was mad at me or was not capable of answering my prayers.

As it was, the sunny skies just produced gratefulness. I was so grateful that Father was there with me. The sunshine was just a wonderful bonus. He did not reward me for praying right. It had become more important to spend the time with Him in whatever way he had planned than it was to selfishly decide that I knew best for the weekend.

But now the test came. Did I just hit a formula for prayer? Is the success to my happiness just wrapped up in asking Father for relationship and then he will treat me each and every time to what my heart truly desires? Is this how I should always pray? Should I write a book? “The Prayer of Relationship – How To Get The Skies To Clear.”

Some of you may think I am crazy but this is how my mind works. I LOVE formulas! I love when it always works. I’m a very disturbed person because I should know by now that formulas have never made me happy. They never work all the time.

So I resisted the urge and talked myself out of this new way of praying being a formula. And the next time I pray for something, Father may very well encourage me to pray for what I want or specifically for a thing or a happening. He can do that. No formulas. Just relationship.

(But I do think I could make money on a book by that title……hm….)


Anonymous said...

Yes, I think you could make money on a book with that title.....probably lots of money! But would you wish to do so? Of course, the fact you could make a lot of money is a pretty sad commentary on the state of thinking of followers of Jesus in the US.

"They (formulas) never work all the time." Question: With God do formulas ever work? Maybe with people since formulas seem to me to be a form of manipulation. People can be manipulated but I am not sure we can manipulate God no matter how hard we try.

I do believe Father blessed and graced you for those days out of the abundance of his love and mercy. I am so pleased he did. What a wonderful expression of the great Father we love, worship and serve.

This is a great post to challenge all of us. It has reminded me that I am tempted to yield to manipulation with both Father and people when I should not do so.

Sarah said...

This post really made me laugh! We are funny creatures aren't we? And, it's true - formulas aren't the stuff of the Christian life...

Barb said...

Traveller, NO!! I don't want to write books to make a lot of money. Strictly kidding. I'm pretty sarcastic about the whole Christian realm right now. I'll try to be a bit more clear ;) and no, formulas never work with God but that does not keep me from trying all the time. You would think I would not be so dense. Thanks for commenting. Our God is good.

Sarah, Glad it made you laugh! Your post the other day on clothes and how to buy them has kept me thinking. I really like the buying used idea. We have a great shop here in town for kids. It takes a bit more effort to find what you need but it does help with some of the dilemma

Anonymous said...

You made me cry and laugh!
I love how God works...and I can feel the delight He had in giving you that gift...after you gave Him such a precious gift.
After all you've been just choose to trust, is incredibly beautiful.
Thanks for sharing...

Mike said...

You received an awesome gift! I am glad that you chose to invite Him there to share it with you.

Anonymous said...

barb, I understood it was sarcasm. You were clear, I was not in my response.

Thanks again for the thoughts! Believe me, we all have the problem of being dense. Is it good we have so much company in our denseness? :-)