There are two kinds of prayers: staying-in-church prayers and kicked-out-of-church prayers. How do you pray? Are you praising God for all he has done for you or does it sound more like this: “Oh Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?” By the way, if you pray like this you aren’t alone; so did King David. Just check out the book of Psalms in the Bible if you want to see what I’m talking about. These are our kicked-out-of-church prayers and a lot of us, even King David, pray like this all the time. So why do we do it?
Do You Know God or Know About Him?
First, we have to define “knowing” and “knowing about”. The main difference between the two is in presence. When you know someone they are, or have been, present in your life. If you just know about them, you only have knowledge or have obtained facts about them from a second-hand source. Let’s think of an example: Barack Obama. If a friend brings up President Obama and you spout out “oh yeah, I know him!” Is this statement true? Probably not. You could know every bit of information the Internet has on Barack Obama but that doesn’t give you his presence in this life; therefore, you don’t know Barack Obama, you just know about him. This, of course would be a completely different story if you went to the White House and sat down and had a nice chat with the President. You have been in his presence and in that case, you do, in fact, know him. This is exactly the same with our relationship with God. We have studied the scripture and heard tons and tons of sermons and we know boat loads of information having to do with God and Jesus Christ, but if we never actually seek and feel his presence in our lives then we will never stop praying those kicked-out-of-church prayers.
A Spiritual Wrestling Match: You vs. God
Do you ever ask yourself, “Why hasn’t my life changed?” Well, if you are still praying those kicked-out-of-church prayers then of course your life hasn’t changed because you haven’t truly met God yet! You don’t have the right tools to fix your life yet. If I am making a cake and a person comes up and points out that I am missing eggs, am I going to sit and complain that my cake sucks? NO! I am going to go on a crazy mad search for eggs. We must do the exact same thing for God. We must go search for Jesus!
So Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him till daybreak… Then the man said, “Let me go for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me”… Then the man said…“You have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome”… then he blessed him there. Genesis 32:24, 26, 28-29.
This Genesis passage represents something that all those who seek God should do and that is to wrestle with God and struggle with Him. We should all wrestle with God because it shows persistence for his love. If you struggle with Him, He will respond. You are missing out on so much of God’s good graces and love if you have not put in the work to pursue him and struggle with him. Don’t let yourself be robbed of all that God has in store for you; if you haven’t already, climb in the ring and start wrestling with Him now! But that’s not all…
Waiting is the Hardest
Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. Isaiah 65:4
You also must wait for God. It takes time and patience because whatever you are fighting with right now, he is already working on but nothing happens immediately and we have to wait for his work to be done. You will know when he comes so don’t waste time worrying. He is a personal God and you will not be introduced to him in the same way as the person next to you but when you see Him, you will know because it will be beautiful and joyful and magical in every way. Tread lightly though because your work doesn’t stop there. Once you meet God, everything in life will not be a perfectly paved road with nothing but rainbows and butterflies, there will still be bumps and there will still be valleys but you cannot give up and you cannot give in; you must work for it.
I absolutely love Marlin from Finding Nemo. He is a mess! He is always getting lost and running into trouble and he is just a complete train wreck, but he “just keeps swimming” and he will never rest until he finds his son. Look at everything he endured just for Nemo! It took time and Nemo almost stopped believing in him but then, he was found. Do you get it? Do you see the similarities here? You are Nemo! And our Heavenly Father is Marlin! He has sacrificed everything for you! There is no need to convince him to love you because he already does. He does everything for you through love.
I can’t control the rain but if you want to get wet, you can’t stay inside. If you go outside, it will eventually rain. I don’t know when but it will. I can’t control God but I can definitely say, that if you go and fight and wrestle for his love you will see something beyond beautiful and I can assure you that you will get wet and you will be showered in his love.
This post was adapted with the help of Grace Asaro from a message given by Trevor Davis to Oasis, the youth ministry at Canyon Springs Church.