Saturday, May 14, 2011

Delay to Pray

“If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.”

~James 1:5 (NRSV).

One of my inherent weaknesses — a bane at times if I’m honest — is that I tend to be very instinctual and don’t often (enough) commit action to prayer beforehand. Call this either a trust of God’s will as divined by the self or, at times, naïve foolishness; certainly it’s both accordant to the time.

This does, however, home into the issue of delaying some action for the benefit of prayer; which is something I also do, just not all the time.

A ‘Judgment’ Call

Recently I contacted a person regarding some interaction we’d had and I gave them my view, which I believed was the truth, but I probably didn’t need to — I could’ve just let it go.

The wiser ‘me’ would have, and certainly with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight I would have.

Nonetheless, I kicked this ball into play and as a result it saw some conflict evolve — across the oceans, so to speak. Nothing major, but dissonant spirits we were. I’m a pacifist in many ways and the slightest conflict most times grieves my spirit. So, I was left to lament the action. I can only surmise that the other person was grieving this issue — and my handling of it — too.

All judgment calls — and we all make them, just some more than others — cannot always be free of error.

Sometimes Delay is Good

This merely reminds us of the value of delaying some things to pray; and those certainly that’ll involve potential conflict and even contribution to hurt.

Of course, we won’t get everything right.

Sometimes we’ll delay something we need to get onto, for need of ‘prayer,’ and we’ll miss the boat, or our lack of immediate action will actually cause conflicts to swell for lack of what’s termed ‘damage control.’ Alternatively, there’ll be times when we should’ve delayed but we hopped in and it turned pear-shaped because of our boldness for action.

Wisdom is What We Should Pray for

James says we only need to ask God for wisdom and he gives it to us freely, abundantly, generously (James 1:5).

In the above situations we’re reminded by God’s Spirit that we need to become more adept at praying, “Lord, give me the wisdom to deal with this situation, according to your will.”

This too is a reminder to ensure we do actually pray, for without prayer we’ll often have no idea — and certainly no confirmation of — what the real will of God is.

At these times we might sense the gently wandering Holy Spirit cautioning us to simply wait on the better word; perhaps we’re reminded to be patient as we wait.

When we see relational disasters averted by humble obedience in prayer, and certainly in our patient waiting, we’re truly encouraged and indeed overwhelmed by the wisdom in the grace of God.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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