Summary: If God were to answer all your prayers with ’yes’ how would the kingdom be furthered?
2. Spiritual Disciplines Series
April 19th, 2009
On March 4th, 2009 in Fort Pierce Florida a tragedy occurred. A woman was experiencing as emergency situation at a local McDonalds. It seems as if the police did not take her seriously when she called 911. This poor woman suffered in a time threatening panic for minutes waiting for officers to show up. The story will certainly surprise you. This woman was desperate. She had a serious problem and in her hour of need the police were just no where to be found. Our hearts should go out to this woman for the suffering she experienced. Here is the story: our victim had gone into McDonalds and ordered a ten piece chicken nugget. Now I know what you are thinking, that doesn’t sound like an emergency to me. Well you are wrong. This is an emergency. Our victim gave the cashier her money and waited for her order only to have the cashier return to tell her, here it comes: they are out of chicken nuggets. McDonalds had no McNuggets! This is a crime against hunger. So our victim asked for her money back only to be told they couldn’t do that and that she would have to order something else. So our victim called 911 not once, not twice, but three times asking for officers to be sent to McDonalds to deal with her emergency. According to the report, after police told this woman that the incident was not an emergency, she replied, "This is an emergency. If I would have known they didn’t have McNuggets, I wouldn’t have given my money, and now she wants to give me a McDouble, but I don’t want one. This is an emergency." Here is the unbelievable part: she was issued a notice to appear in court for misuse of the 911 emergency communication system. Really? What I find amusing about all of this is that McDonald’s not only responded by issuing this woman a refund but by offering her a free order of chicken nuggets on her return. They don’t want to disappoint their McFans.
Our culture affects our lives. Living in a consumer based economy we are conditioned to believe that life is all about us, the customer is always right, and if you don’t like the service you are getting one place just go somewhere else. This mindset has affected not only how we live our lives but also the way we attend churches and even how we pray. Have you noticed what our prayer lives often look like these days? Remember when you were a little kid and around Christmas time your family would take you to see Santa at the mall? You wait in line and when it’s your turn you sit on Santa’s lap and tell some total stranger with a cheap white beard everything you want. The truth is that is exactly how many people treat prayer. We view it as the time for sharing our wish lists with God to see if He truly is great enough to make them happen. It is not that it is wrong to spend some time praying for travel, health, jobs, and asking God for things you would like in life but if that is all our prayers are, they are missing something very important.
One of my professors at Ozark poses this question to some of his classes: If God answered all your prayers with ‘yes’ how would the kingdom be furthered? The question strikes a chord because it forces us to stop and think. What effect do my prayers have on the kingdom of God? How much time do I spend praying about Spiritual things? What true good would come from God giving me all the things I am praying for? When you look at the things you pray for ask yourself: if God answered all of these prayers with a yes, how would the kingdom be changed? We need to learn how to pray kingdom minded prayers.
Before we can have kingdom minded prayers however we need to better understand prayer. Prayer is communication the deeper the communication the more intimate the prayer. One of the things I noticed was the parallel between the levels of communication and our intimacy with God. Here is the progression of communication: Small talk: we can make small talk with anyone. We get bored standing in line we will sometimes engage in cliché conversation with total strangers because we are not really sharing anything. Then sharing what we know. We may not do this with everyone but being that it has very little intimacy or risk we will share what we know with most people. Your opinion however is a little more personal when you start sharing what you think. This is where we start getting out of the acquaintance zone and start moving into friendship. Opinions bear some connection with who you are and are thus personal making them somewhat intimate. Then there is sharing your feelings. Most people will only reach this level of intimacy with a few people. Finally there is transparency which is sharing who you are. This is the most intimate and personal form of communication and this is the level that God desires to reach with us. God doesn’t just want to sit around and have small talk with you. God wants to know you. He wants to share this life with you. Sometimes the problem with our prayers is that we are unwilling to open ourselves up to God and truly be vulnerable before Him so that can have intimacy with Him.