The wise pray. We can say this if we believe that wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord enough to not be so bold to assume we know everything; that we do need guidance.
What I’m suggesting is that the wise are characterised by their desire to seek God first (Matthew 6:33); a bit like how this instruction works:
“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”
—Step 11, 12-Step Recovery Program
So why we pray seems to be a no-brainer; we cannot possibly know how our moments will turn out or always how to handle them unless we continually refer back, in seeking wisdom, to God.
Linking Wisdom with Humility
We pray—to seek God—when/because we are humble enough to admit we do not know:
þ What the next step of action/life is;
þ How to take that next step;
þ How to handle a particular situation or relationship;
þ When to actually put into place an action we’ve previously decided.
The list goes on.
The reality is that life is so uncertain and so unpredictable, but we have the agency for wisdom through prayer. So not only do we express wisdom by waiting on God in prayer, we also receive wisdom from God by being open in response.
The difference between the godly and those who are blissfully (intentionally) ignorant is the obedient willingness to submit our plans, hopes, uncertainties, and even our doubts to God in prayer. This process of the conscious submission of our desires and compulsions is shrouded in the wisdom of humility. We are conscious of delaying just enough to check with God—to be open to what the Spirit might say through our spirits—and then to obey.
Praying for the Right Path
We pray for the precise reason that we wish to get more of our lives right. We pray for success—not simply ours, but for all our ventures, because inevitably other people are involved. The more our lives work out, the better the ripples into other lives are.
Why we pray is about the right path—discerning it and remaining on it.
This is both our test and our task; staying on the right path is the challenge achieved through continuous prayer, and it’s also prayer that restores us to the right path when we have gone astray.
We pray because we don’t know how to best handle many of life’s uncertainties. Prayer helps us stop long enough to consider the consequences of our actions. With prayer we get more of our lives right.
Prayer helps us express humility and grow in wisdom.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.