I woke up long before dawn would be approaching, somewhere around 3 am, unable to go back to sleep, probably a combination of the oppressive night summer heat, and a heart and mind swirling with thoughts, worries, frustrations and fears. Well, I did what anyone else at my station of life would do: I started praying (if you’re wondering what that has to do with my station in life, you are too young to understand 😉 ). And pray I did, with fervor and passion. I prayed about all kinds of things, many issues personal, local, national and global. Most of it was a battle, in that I had to ward of all kinds of feelings of inadequacy and shame, put down thoughts and accusations of insincerity, bind up guilt and more. The attack was against my heart and soul. But by the grace of God I pressed in and on, because I had learned a little more about prayer the day before…
I was thinking about how fortunate I had been to have played a small part in the development of some young teenagers many years ago, several who are now working or serving in the areas of worship ministry and/or music. It delights my heart to see where they’ve come from and where they are now. Recently I was honored by one of these young men at a worship conference, of which he was the director, where he shared with a group that the conference was in part due to the investment I made in a bunch of teen-aged boys, pouring into their lives, little knowing the fruit it would produce. I wasn’t sure that either one of us were going to get out of that room with dry eyes.
But as I was meditating on all of this, it occurred to me that I really didn’t DO that much. I wasn’t a “trained” musician; in fact, several of those kids had gifts and skills that surpassed my abilities. I wasn’t the pastor, nor the youth pastor; I wasn’t even the main worship leader for that matter. I simply loved these kids and saw future potential. All I really did was invite them to walk with me along the way. I’d share with them what little I had to offer, but we would all walk and learn together along the way. I simply invited them to participate; the choice to do so was theirs.
That is EXACTLY how much of prayer works. God is all-wise, all-knowing, all-powerful. He is quite capable of pulling off anything He so desires in the earth. But He INVITES US to PARTICIPATE WITH HIM in His sovereign plan. Are those plans dependent upon our participation?
Well, no… and yes.
God’s ultimate plans and purposes will not fail (Psalm 33:11), but in the testimony of Scripture it appears that, in His infinite wisdom and love, He has purposed that some things will not happen apart from our participation. Why? Why, if He is Sovereign, Omniscient, Omnipotent– why does He allow these things to be dependent upon the involvement of mortal man? Well, I don’t have the final word on this, but I can only conclude that He does this simply because He DELIGHTS in us and wants us to experience the joy of “partnering” with Him in His divine plans.
“In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete…
In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.”
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”
1 John 5:13-15
“On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
2 Corinthians 1:10b-11
So at 3 o’clock in the morning I was invited to participate in the Divine purposes of God.
The choice is ours.