My post on McLean Bible Churchâ€™s Sunday sermon created some chatter over at Jollyblogger. The sermon encouraged me to rely more on God with my life--to develop a dependency on Him and to keep my communication open with the Creator who knows me best. Senior Pastor Lon Solomon said that God has a specific plan for my life, including the details such as the specific man He wants me to marry or the job he wants me to take.
Now this doesnâ€™t mean we drive ourselves crazy asking God to tell us whether it is His will to use a blue pen or a black pen or to eat chocolate, vanilla, strawberry or Neapolitan ice cream, as two readers rightly pointed out. Solomon wasnâ€™t saying that. One purpose of prayer is to present our needs to God (others are adoring God, confessing our sins, and thanking Himâ€¦) God already knows our needs, but the very act of praying builds our reliance on Him. Asking God to meet the needs we have and to guide us in life draws us into an intimate relationship with Him--a relationship He knows through and through because He is the Maker of it. It helps us recognize that we desperately need Him in this life.
When I mentioned that Solomon said he asks God to provide something as simple as a parking space, Jollyblogger's David Wayne wrote that praying for parking seems to be a "prayer for personal advantage" that inconveniences others--namely the person who doesn't get the spot. I don't think we'll make much progress on whether it is right or wrong to pray for parking. Praying does not inconvenience anyone else. God can provide for everyone's needs. Now, sometimes our perceived needs may not match up to what He knows we need, but we'll learn as we ask Him.
Another thought, God doesnâ€™t expect our prayers to be perfect. He expects us to be real before Him, to lay out all our requests and the frailty of our lives and to be drawn into a relationship with Him. God is glorified as we thank, praise, confess, and tell him our needs. And we in turn are transformed as we talk with Him.