Some thoughts about prayer

Well, we’ve had quite a few blog postings on the silly side of things lately, but I wanted to share with you all a bit of where my heart has been the last couple of months.

As I’ve been venturing into the world of being a full-time musician, I’ve been making plans and arranging my schedule, treading at times into uncharted waters. Music has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember, but I’ve never been dependent on music to eat, pay my rent, pay back my student loans. Add to this the recent hike in gas prices (which has, in turn, started to make EVERYTHING more expensive), and sometimes I can’t help thinking,

“Wow, I picked a really fine time to let go of my job and make a living on the road!”

Through all of this, I’ve really been challenged to change the way I look at prayer. Traditionally, my thought has been somewhere along the lines of:

“Well, I’m just going to do the best that I can, and then I’ll trust God for the rest.”

But lately, I can’t help thinking that this train of thought is backwards or just plain wrong. Let me explain: a couple of months ago, I was at a church here in Nashville when the pastor said,

“If we really believe that God answers prayer, then why isn’t prayer the VERY FIRST thing we do before undertaking anything?”

It seems so simple, but it really struck a note of profundity with me. He is so right! Why is it that I wait until I don’t know where I’m at or where I’m going before turning to God for direction? Why is it that I wait until a situation becomes dire before asking for intervention or provision?

I’d like to challenge you to keep that in mind as you go about your day to day motions. It’s been a process for me, but I’m learning to turn to prayer at the start of things instead of after they get messy. And when I really stop to think about it, it only makes sense to do things this way. If God’s not in my actions in the first place, they’re already doomed to failure or shortcoming. So, I find myself asking on almost a daily basis,

“God, where is it that you want me to go? What is it you want me to do? How do you want me to handle this?”

Here’s the good part: when God opens doors and gives direction, he backs you up the whole way. Does that mean that I don’t have to work and sweat and bleed and cry and struggle? No! Certainly not! But what it DOES mean is that even when you end up in a place where you feel like your flailing, your not. If God challenges you to do something or gives you an opportunity, he’s not going to leave you flailing. The confidence that comes with that understanding is incredible.

It’s like playing football with the biggest kid in the neighborhood on your team. What do you do? You hand him the ball and watch him run over the other team. Or if he hands you the ball, you run behind him while he blocks for you. At the end of the day, you’re reminded that you won because you’ve got the big kid on your team, but it doesn’t take anything away from the game. You just make sure to be on the same team with the big kid the next time you play.