Sunday, May 25, 2014

Conflicting Prayer

Conflicting Prayer
May 26, 2014
Romans 8:26  "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans."

My wife and I have five children and though we are not perfect parents, at this stage in the game we truly have their best interests at heart.  So far, our children are young enough to still take direction and instruction.  Though they may question why or complain occasionally, they understand we know what is best for them, even if they do not think it at the time.  There will come a day, however, when one of our children is bound to rebel against our instructions for his or her life, even if it seems like a good idea at the time.  It will probably end up in regret.  Hopefully, with a few smaller mistakes early on, none of my children will end up with life altering regrets.  But there may be some of you with a few major regrets.  Maybe you didn't listen to conventional wisdom or maybe you simply made a mistake.  All of us wish there was a do-over at some point in our lives.  While we cannot erase the past, it can be avoided going forward.

Scripture says the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, prays on our behalf as we move forward in life.  Specifically, it says He is constantly trying to keep us on the Lord's path, the straight and narrow, the Lord's best for our lives.  I often wonder how many times I have strayed from that path, even unknowingly and without bad intentions.  I have a vision of myself trying to open a door and the door is stuck.  I try with all my might but to no avail.  I ask friends for help, I pray to the Lord to help me open the door but it will not budge.  Then the Holy Spirit reveals Himself in the scene and I see Him blocking the door with all His might, keeping me from opening it.  I think I want to go through the door but He knows it is better for me not to enter.  Like a parent knows better for his or her child, the Holy Spirit knows what's better for you and me.  But this can create conflict.

If I pray ten thousand times a day for the Lord to do something specifically for me, but it is not in my best interests in the long run, I have created conflict between my prayers and the prayers of the Holy Spirit on my behalf.  The Holy Spirit doesn't simply echo my own prayers, making them louder, He correctly prays for my best interests, even if that is directly opposite what I am praying.  This is huge so let me say it again.  The Holy Spirit does not merely repeat my own prayers; He prays better ones on my behalf.  He knows what's best; He knows what would be most beneficial for me in the long run.  This gives me (and you) an opportunity.  We can chose to create conflicting prayers, thinking ours is best, or we can submit to the will of the Father and the leading of the Holy Spirit and let both of them guide our lives.  If we continue to go the way we are going, however, we will simply end up with the same results we've already had.  It is time to end up with a different result, a better result, through your prayer!  It is time to leave the specifics to the Holy Spirit in working out the details of the prayer.

While this is easier said than done, it is critical to our success in life.  We might think we know what we want, but the Lord knows better.  He is the Father and we are the child and we get to submit to His leading.  No longer should you tell the Lord how you think He should work out the scenario.  Pray that the Holy Spirit intercedes on your behalf and trust the Father as you walk through it, whatever it looks like.  Maybe your unanswered prayer is a conflicting prayer request for your life?  If the door won't open, maybe that's a good thing!

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Numbers 22:21-34, Romans 8

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