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Some of us don't really believe what we pray - almost as though we pray the words, but we don't honestly expect God to answer us! Why is that? I imagine some of us see God as we do our earthly parents - never really there for us, kind of on the fringes of our lives, needing more of our help than them giving us theirs. Others might just see God as the 'big man' in the sky, too busy to be bothered with our 'little' needs. I know there are others of us who simply pray 'big prayers', knowing in our heart of hearts that God answers prayers, but we somehow equate our prayer to something 'bigger' than what God may want to do on our behalf. Whatever the reason for wavering in our faith when it comes to expressing our heart to God in prayer, we need to get over it! God is listening, even when the answer isn't always as we might have imagine it to be!

If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves. Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open. (James 1:5-8)

The idea presented to us today is that when there is less of us, there is more of God - less of us always equates to an opportunity for God to reveal more of himself. No one is more blessed than the one that has allowed the presence of God to become central in their lives. The place of being at the "end of our rope" is the beginning place for God's presence to begin to affect us in ways it had not ever been able to before. It is there, at the end of our rope, that we find deep, connecting love. It is in the connection that the 'transition' is made between our lack of faith or trust and the knowledge that God's love is always working on our behalf.

In prayer, as in all the other areas of our lives, it is a matter of who is in control. The one in "control" is the one that must be relied upon for the outcome or solution. We have all probably been in a situation where we have seen the example of "trusting" someone to catch you when you fall backward or jump from a higher place. The use of this "technique" of trusting another to catch us is really designed to show us that in a team we are better than when we are alone. Yet, it is the idea that control is being given to the other person that often frightens most of us and keeps us from "taking the plunge" in the first place! None of us likes to lose control.

"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule." (Matthew 5:3)

We want to be "in control" of all avenues of our life. To "let go" of control suggests that we may get what we don't want, might suffer some loss, or might be somehow "misdirected" into something that will do us harm. So, we hold onto control. We have to control because we cannot trust. God's purpose in telling us that it as at the end of our rope that we enjoy the greatest freedom is because he knows that 'end of the rope place' is the place where we finally give up control! Praying for our needs to be met, then going out and meeting them on our own terms and by our own efforts is silliness. James knew that prayer that really mattered was prayer that revealed trust in the one who answers prayer - God himself. We often "think" we have prayed in a "trusting" manner - yet, the end-result of our prayer is that we are still doing it all ourselves! God is not honored by those types of prayers - those prayers where we "keep all our options open". 

God must be trusted and in order to reveal our trust, we have to allow him to be in control. Let's ask ourselves who is "really" in control in our lives - who is it we are relying upon for the answers to our needs? Are we simply living life "keeping our options open" - trusting self more than God? If so, it is time for a "shift" in the 'driver's seat' of our lives! Just sayin!


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