Sam scratched his head and stared at that pile of dirt. The pile was wide and high. He knew his job required him to move it. But he wondered just how his boss expected him to do that? He stared at the shovel that lay on the ground nearby. Surely, he was not expected to use that? But he did not see any other equipment anywhere. Just when he was about to give up and walk away, his boss brought him a skidloader with a big bucket attached to use. Sam jumped in the machine, excited about using it. But he had never used one before, so he had to first learn and understand the machine before it was actually an effective tool in Sam’s hands. When Sam became familiar and efficient with the machine, the machine did just what it was supposed to do…make an overwhelming, impossible job become possible.
What pile of dirt are you staring at today? What overwhelming, impossible task or ordeal are you staring at? Did you know your Heavenly Father gave you a tool to use? A tool so often mishandled, because we don’t know anything about it. That tool is prayer. God gave us the wonderful gift of prayer.
But prayer is so often misused for our own selfish desires. Or not used at all…until the very last moment, when we realize we can’t fix it ourselves and we may as well just give it to God. Most of us spend our days using a shovel to move our pile of dirt. We moan and lament how hard it is, but we keep moving shovelfuls of dirt. Of course, some of us just give up and walk away from our pile and pretend like its not there.
However, if we take a biblical approach to prayer, then prayer becomes like that machine. A useful tool. Ah…but here is where the problem comes in…a tool to do what? Supply all our wants? Or the wants of others? No. Actually godly prayer has nothing to do with our desires at all, but with what God desires. As we mature in our walk with God, our prayers should be centered around what God desires…not what we desire.
But God loves His children. A lot. And He hears the prayers of those who are truly His saints. If we are going through a difficult time and are really struggling, God wants us to pray about that, too. But our petitions need to be out of a heart of submission and repentance (if necessary). Many are the times King David implores with God to protect him from his enemies and to give him what he needs. But David’s prayers also show his submissive and repentant heart (Psalm 51).
So, how do you know if you are using the tool of prayer in the correct way? With the correct heart? I think it has something to do with how you react when the pile of dirt isn’t moving as fast as YOU think it should…or maybe it’s not moving at all. Do you get angry? Irritable? Depressed? Despairing? You see, if we are praying with a correct attitude of submission to God, then we will not get angry or depressed when our prayers are not answered in the way we think is best.
But that’s in a perfect world…because ALL of us have struggled with this at one point or another. But we need to keep moving in the right direction…using the tool of prayer as the most effective way to further God’s kingdom…just like Sam moved that pile of dirt. Put down your shovel, turn your submissive, repentant heart towards God and let’s allow Him to use us to accomplish the impossible!