Our Ways of Doing vs. God’s Way of Doing
There seems to be many patterns of thought or thinking that we hold on to that we don’t even know exist until someone calls them to our attention. Have you ever heard the idea of God’s Kingdom being as the Upside-Down Kingdom?
In, what we would normally think of a kingdom, we have rulers and their governed territories. From these rulers, we then obviously get rules about how life should look and work. People then follow these rules because not only do they exist but so do the ever-present consequences of not following them.
Typical rules could cover any part of life; from normative to political. They speak of how people should treat the important and where you are in the hierarchy of importance as compared to other people in the kingdom.
These rulers often lay-out, in clear terms, what it means to be successful in their kingdom and what sorts of results are important to them. We understand this. And thus, Its an age-old operation of humanity that lives on today in every facet of every culture.
The Upside-Down Kingdom flies in the face of many of these long-held presuppositions of how the world works and what we should do to achieve its desired results.
What Does Society Value?
- Lots of determination and quick thinking.
- Constant self-exertion and entrepreneurship.
- Self-reliance and strong-arming our way into making things happen.
- Exploring new territory.
- Acquiring as much as possible; be it wealth, possession, relationships, promotion, fame, acceptance, etc.
While those sorts of things are useful in life, there are things that are more important and more useful for achieving spiritual breakthrough.
Seeing Things Upside-Down
As it were, prayer is that sort of thing. Not like the list above, but beyond those items in its importance.
On the surface, it may seem like you are just sitting in a quiet place talking to yourself. From a secular perspective, even, it could best be seen as meditation and mindfulness– you connecting with the deeper parts of yourself.
But, this is not what prayer for the Christian is about. Christian prayer is about connection and trust.
What has been revealed to us through the Bible is that God is a loving Father who is open and available to us. We don’t have to schedule an appointment to meet with Him, or worse yet, assume that He is uninterested with us and our existence.
But actually, what we get is to genuinely tell God our hearts and know that he is understanding us. This is for our benefit!
We have a very personal Father who is actively engaged in hearing us and teaching us through prayer, especially when coupled with active Bible Reading. We are able to have a real relationship with Him!
Trust is what happens when we assume that God is right about things; and in specific the things that we think are important.
Trust is doing those things that don’t make sense to us because we defer our judgment to someone who has more knowledge and insight into the matters of life.
Prayer is a giant trust exercise.
Prayer as an Uncommon Weapon
Isn’t it interesting that we think about prayer as a weapon? Think about that …
Usually, weapons are the things we place in our hands that enable us to exact a very specific and undeniable end result. We grab the hammer, we set a nail, and then we drive it into place.
Weapon. This is an interesting way to phrase the use of prayer because usually when we talk about tools and their usefulness we talk about what we can accomplish with them. This is actually the exact opposite of what we mean when we talk about prayer!
Prayer is dependence on God within our desire to see specific outcomes and results in our life. Let it be known, when you and I pray, we aren’t guaranteeing a specific outcome in life. We aren’t pointing to a particular situation and expecting things to work out like we would have them be.
Why is this?
Prayer simply means talking. Talking with God. When we talk with God, we assume that He knows more than us.
- We assume He has the power and resource to do immeasurable things.
- We assume He has a vast understanding of the situation before us.
- We assume He cares
The reason why prayer is a weapon is that God most definitely is working in the background and foreground of our situations. The problem with the conventional way of thinking of prayer as a tool for the Christian is that we don’t control God. We don’t force His hand.
But, We ask. We plead.
We are the nail that is driven into our particular places, fulfilling our particular places in life.
Then we Rest. We rest in knowing that He has it figured out. He is working.
Prayer Changes Us – Its Main Purpose
We are the ones that are called to change, often times! What a thought; we pray to change a situation and one of the greatest things that can be accomplished is that we, ourselves, are changed!
What happens after we say, “Amen,” is up to God. We should pray with great faith but also with great dependence because we don’t know how He will answer our prayers.
We may have asked Him for the very thing He wanted to do. Other times, He has other plans than us. It is up to us to be full of faith. Faith doesn’t merely mean that what we pray for, comes to pass. Faith, at the root, means that we trust and believe in a Mighty God.
Uncommon Means Series
It’s my hope that you will live a life that is fully dependent on God to do big things in life. Prayer is one thing that has ignited passion, spanning lifetimes, for all sorts of long-lasting Kingdom work.
Later on, in this series of blog posts, we will be discussing other aspects of the Upside-Down Kingdom like: Bible Reading, Giving vs. Receiving, Helping Others Grow, and possibly others.
Tell us what you’d like to learn about or what you thought was really powerful in today’s blog.