Prayer isn’t presenting a wish list to God

Prayer isn’t presenting a wish list to God

By Jesse Horton / Cowboys of the Cross

Last week we began to examine how we communicate with God (and maybe more importantly, how he communicates with us!). We first took a lengthy look at the Scriptures – God’s primary way of communicating with us, but as lengthy as that was it was still just an overview. It was a view of the Bible from 10,000 feet in the air.

This week, I want to begin to address the topic of prayer. Prayer – done rightly – is about developing an attitude and a posture that prepares us to hear from God. I want you to notice from that statement what prayer is not. Prayer is not a wish-list for God where we treat him like a genie in a bottle. Prayer is not about us getting what we want out of a permissive heavenly Father. When we pray as Jesus taught us to pray, we will find ourselves humbly seeking God’s will for all of his creation, but especially in our own lives. Prayer is not about getting what I want from God; it’s about God getting what he wants from me!

We’ll study the “Lord’s Prayer” given as a model to Jesus’ disciples when they asked him to teach them how to pray. He obliged, not by teaching them words to repeat, but attitudes and postures to develop in their prayers that would bring them under God’s sovereign rule and will for their lives. Let’s break it down a little at a time over several weeks. I think we’ll all learn much about how God communicates with us through prayer in this exercise!

Jesus began his model prayer by saying, “Our Father in heaven…” If you are God’s child through faith in Jesus, you have a Father in heaven! The God you pray to, the One who spoke everything in the universe into existence and whose power holds all things together, the One who gives every creature and circumstance a divine purpose according to his sovereign will is your Father! The One whose love put the plan of redemption into motion through Jesus’ death and resurrection is your daddy. He is the King of all creation who will not abandon his work until all that he has purposed to do in you and through you is accomplished, and he calls you “son” or “daughter.”

There is nothing more important, more life-giving that we can do than to remember that the One who created and controls everything that exists is our Father. He thinks of you with pure, faithful fatherly love, and unlike an earthly father, your heavenly Father is always with you. He never stops watching or caring for you. He never stops working to accomplish his plans for you and through you. He carries your burdens in your weakness; he corrects you on your path when you wander away. You are his child by his grace, and because of that, nothing can ever change your status as a child of the King…and nothing will ever be the same!

Asking how a bull bucks is seeking wisdom, asking for godly wisdom will take you further

Asking how a bull bucks is seeking wisdom, asking for godly wisdom will take you further

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

Leaves of three, come and see, so pretty, do touch me. Isn’t that how that goes?

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Sometimes wisdom comes from personal experience. We really can learn from our mistakes. We can also learn from the experiences of others. We don’t have to touch poison ivy ourselves and experience days of itching rash, we can trust the wisdom of others. That’s where the real saying comes from: leaves of three, leave it be. Someone offered that piece of wisdom to make it easier to avoid the rash. That’s why you hear rodeo contestants asking about what to expect from the stock or bull they drew.

Sure, the unexpected can still happen but seeking advice is both using the wisdom of others and being wise ourselves in doing that.

But when we don’t know what to do, James tells us to seek wisdom from God and more often than what you might realize, His wisdom and the direction you need will be right there in the pages of the Bible. Digging in and knowing what’s in there for yourself is best but just like asking a more experienced competitor for advice on how much reign to give a bronc or what bull rope might work better for you, it’s wise to seek the wisdom of other Christians you know can help point you to the right scripture.

Through Cowboys of the Cross, we’re a small group of men with ties to the rodeo and bull riding, equestrian or ranch cowboy industries, who are here to try to help you gain stronger biblical knowledge and wisdom. We have new content on the this website every other Thursday to teach and encourage you, use social media to do the same and are literally a phone call or text away from you almost 24-7.

We don’t have all the answers but we also have more mature and knowledgeable believers who we turn to when we need wisdom or guidance. As James instructs, first pray to God to ask for His wisdom, but then turn to the pages of the Bible to seek that. If you’re stuck, seek advice from a more mature Christian who you know has wisdom you haven’t gained yet.

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