yam·mer (yăm′ər) 1. To complain peevishly or whimperingly; whine. 2. To talk volubly and loudly. v.tr. To utter or say in a complaining or clamorous tone. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/yammered)
This past week my prayers have felt like yammering—at least in my own ears that’s how it’s sounded. My prayer list is long, but somehow my constant begging seems wrong. It is desperate, but not desperate with faith.
Desperate is okay. It brings us to the end of ourselves and causes us to cry out to God. Desperate acknowledges that we don’t have the resources to accomplish the thing for which we are praying. It humbles us, and humility is a good thing. But my prayers have looked more like the pulsating commands I give to my children when company is coming rather than like prayer.
“The bathroom is dirty. Your mess. Clean it up. Who left the peanut butter out? Get in here and pick it up. Why are there crumbs on the floor? You, your job is dusting.” I fire in quick succession. CONTROL FREAK!!
In prayer, I am doing out of habit, what I’ve always done: making my list, slamming it down on the throne-room floor and pleading (make that whining) to God about what I’ve decided will be best about present circumstances for myself and others. As I have thought about it, I have realized some of what is missing.
Trust, for one thing. Trust comes from my relationship with Christ. It is inspired and instructed by his faithfulness and love. When I see the cross, I remember the depth of his love. The presence and promise of the Holy Spirit also reminds me he is at work in our lives, silently, persistently, and lovingly. This trust helps me when I pray for my own concerns, but also when I pray for yours. God longs to be gracious and has eternal plans and perspectives. My shoulders are very narrow; His are not. To trust His gracious heart has to be at the center of my praying. Otherwise, I opt to try and control circumstances through my prayers rather than lift them trustingly to our faithful Father.
Perspective is another. Perspective comes through worship and truth. In scripture I understand that God causes all things to work together for His good and glory. I see He longs for us to have a worshipful heart no matter what we are encountering. I am told that He is creating endurance and faithfulness in us. I also see through worship and the word that He is almighty, holy, incomprehensible, and eternally faithful and true. Can I expect Him to work his salvation through the difficulties in your life like He has in mine? Yes. That helps me trust Him for your prayer requests—especially when they aren’t answered in the ways I have prescribed or imagine.
God is ultimately after our hearts not our happenstances, our holiness not our happiness, soul satisfaction not short-term struggles, and His kingdom, not ours.
But still, I’m going to ask for the things that seem right: the good, the loving, and the scriptural. Then, I’m going to wrap the requests up in the glory of His love and faithfulness, bow my knees before His majesty, and trust Him to perform His wonders within His wisdom.