What God’s telling me not to pray

I am a future-oriented person. If I’m not careful I can miss the present because I’m too focused on the future. This is something that spills over to my personal prayer life. Most of the time I am praying about what will be true for me, our family, our church, our friends, and our neighbors in the future. This future orientation is most true in regard to my leadership of our church. I constantly think about where we are headed and so that’s what I pray about too.

In the past four or five months God has been very silent with me about the future. Usually I sense his leading, but the only leading I’ve sensed lately is that I need to stop praying about the future for a time. It’s not that praying about the future is bad, but for a season God has made it clear that it’s bad for me. Every time I begin to pray about the future I sense the Spirit telling me to stop. This has forced me to take on the challenge of just being present in the present.

There art three ways this season of God’s silence about the future has been good for me (though I haven’t enjoyed learning these things all the time).

First, I’ve been reminded that God wants me to be present with him. Future-oriented prayers are more about where God is leading than being in God’s presence. In the past four or five months I’ve spent much more time praying through the psalms, sitting in silence, and trying to be present with God without an agenda. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has been good. God has reminded me that he cares about who I am and wants me to actually be like a child of his, not just have that title.

Second, I’ve been challenged to keep a right perspective on my future. When I am fully future-focused it’s easy to feel like that is the most important thing in the world. In reality, what matters is my faithfulness to God in the midst of whatever future I have. God’s story is massive–I play a small role in it. It’s too easy to approach life like my story is huge and God plays a small role in it. It’s not that I think God doesn’t care about my future, but I think he cares a lot more about my faithfulness in the future than the details of it.

Third, I’ve learned to appreciate the times when God is leading clearly. I’ve had times in life when God has been very clear about the future–for me, our family, our church. I’ve taken those times for granted–as though that would always be the case. But in this time without future guidance I’ve learned to appreciate when the future is more clear.

About Big Tasty

Be better today than yesterday.

Posted on April 16, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. “The future” for you is in far different than it is for me. For you, in you 30s, the future still has possibilities. For me, in my 60s, the future is more about the end of things. I don’t mind that at all. In fact, I look forward to it. I pray that it comes quickly and ends the pain of life. I am ready for a rest — a long one. God is strangely silent with me, too, about the future. I take that as a bad omen. I am not much interested in “now,” as you are. Still, I wonder in the time I have left if there is a reason for me to have been here and still be here. I wonder if there is still something hopeful and happy for me. The present is short so if He has something wonderful for me, I wish He would hurry up with it. I am still very angry with God about many things; we don’t have the best of relationships, to say the least. Probably my fault, but it would be nice if He would deign to acknowledge me — just once. Hey, God! Here I am; over here! Do you really give a damn about me? Prayer is a strange way to communicate. It is hard to have a still heart to hear a reply; if, indeed, there is one coming at some point. And isn’t the Holy Spirt supposed to intercede for me when I really don’t know what to say. I can’t help but wonder what the HS says to God on my behalf. Does the HS really speak for me as I would speak to Him? And just how does one address one’s future to an entity that is infinite? Still, I am glad for those who do see a bright and happy future — I wish all of you well and your fondest dreams come true! May your future be all you (He) wants it to be.

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