Prayer has been a part of my life for a long time. Now I do admit it has taken a lifetime to fully understand exactly how to approach my Father and it is still a work in progress to fully trust in His answers and to fully be patient in waiting. Waiting…is anyone really an expert in waiting? Probably not, that’s why a lot of us are always “praying for patience”. We so often pray and shortly thereafter open one eye to see if it worked. And when our answer doesn’t come, we go to a “well I guess it didn’t work” mentality, treating God as a method, or spiritual vending machine.
Fasting has been a part of my life now for four years. It was through spending more and more time in the Word, more and more time in prayer, that I began to see the importance of fasting. Jesus assumes we will fast in Matthew 6:16 saying “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full”. Again though, as I have fasted over the years my mentality was “did it work”. My fast would end and I impatiently looked for immediate results, thus treating God as a method, or spiritual vending machine.
Whether or not you engage in spiritual fasts is up to you and this devotional isn’t about fasting and prayer per say, but more about how we treat God as a fast food drive thru. We give our order at the first window, then pull up to the next one immediately wanting our food. Think about what you do if your food is delayed? You get antsy and impatient and start to complain about the slowness of service. Or take it up a notch and think about what you do if the food tastes bad? You might in your mind state “never eating here again” or even a more direct approach and ask for a new plate, or possibly a refund.
This fast food mentality is how we live our spiritual lives isn’t it? We give our order to God and have an expectation the answer is coming within minutes, or we may go as far as giving God a couple of days to get back to us. How nice of us. But just like fast food, if there is a delay, we start to complain to God about the slowness of His service. Or just like fast food, if we don’t like God’s answer, we may reject it and send it back, asking for a different one.
Let’s look at an example from scripture. Nehemiah chapter 1 comes to mind. Nehemiah heard the news that his hometown was in trouble. The wall of Jerusalem had been broken down and the gates had been burned. Nehemiah spent days in prayer and fasting as he mourned this report. HIs time of prayer occurred in the month of Kislev, or autumn, around the time of November. Nehemiah received his answer in the month of Nisan, or late spring around April. Nehemiah had to wait patiently for five months before God revealed His plan.
Can any of us wait that long? We could but we have lost the art of patience. God is not a method. He is not a vending machine. And we should stop treating Him like he is wearing a headset taking our orders. It’s time to genuinely seek Him, trust in His timing and rebuke the idea of Fast Food Prayer.
Discerning Reflection: How can I know that I am being impatient in seeking answers from God?
Prayer: Lord, search my heart and grant me the wisdom to see beauty in your timing. Show me if my heart and mind are impatient. Allow me to be fervent in prayer and give me strength to trust in your perfect answer. I pray this all in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen
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