Mealplans and Denial and Prayer

Today my Sunday school class was talking about prayer.

We do this every week this semester, an hour on Sunday mornings after we've all worshipped together, all of us in a room to talk and listen and to pray.

And today I was thinking about two things as we discussed the Lord's Prayer and why we don't pray as we ought to, why we don't ask for our daily bread and why we don't beg Him for His Kingdom to come. About why I don't.



First, mealplans.

This summer almost every weekend I stayed somewhere different. Every place I went was good, but every place was strange and different. Different families. A different bed. A different road to get there. A different church. A different way back to the next week of work, the next week of camp.

I like routine.

I like knowing my schedule, and being able to move within it as I please, to disappear when I want and return when I want, to know the lay of the land and where to run into certain people.

I like control.

But this summer, I didn't know what the coming weekend held. A lot of times I didn't even know where I would be staying a few days from then.

It always worked out beautifully. Because... in Aaron Shust's words, "It seems You're aware of so much more than I give You credit for."

I was always uncomfortable with it.

But it meant that I did a lot of praying. (And a lot of worrying.) And then a lot of more praying about my worrying. And then more praying. And then praying thanks when I had a place to go and when it was good.

At college, on the other hand, I have a meal plan.

I have a schedule. A backpack full of schedules. A syllabus to mark out the coming months of my life.

I have an apartment where I live, every day, all year. A plastic card that I swipe to get in.

It's comfortable.

And I forget to pray.

Forget that the meals that I eat here every day are provided by God just as graciously as the meals that were fed to me by almost-strangers all summer.

Forget that having a bed with my comforter on it and my pictures hung around it, and not having to pack everything I own once or twice a week and move, is evidence of God's provision as much as the couches and floors and beds that He gave with all my worrying.

And it is fitting to give thanks for these steady blessings just as much as the surprise ones.

May my mealplan not be excuse for ingratitude.

Second, denial.

One thing we discussed was that we don't like praying for God to change other people when we can see that they're being sinful because... well... you know... sometimes we do that stuff too. So... if we just don't pray for Him to change them, then we don't have to pray for Him to change us either, right?

Other way denial comes in works like this in my mental dialogue.

I have problem x.
I should pray. And get other people to pray.
If I pray, it's serious.

Therefore... obviously... if I don't pray, it isn't serious?

My brain is messed up.

My whole self is messed up.

Hence why I need a Savior.

So what are the mealplans and denials in your life?

At the right hand of the Father
Enthroned in majesty
Sits the perfect Son of God and Son of Man
And the hands He lifts in prayer for me
Still bear the marks of Calvary
And through those hands the Father bids me come
So I will boldly go
Before the throne and there bow low
And plead for mercy, grace and peace
On the merits of my great High Priest
Yes, I will boldly go...

[Gene Helsel]


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