The true essence of prayer
My favorite days are the ones that begin with me waking up already thinking about G-D. Those days, when the transition between sleeping and being awake (that almost dreamlike state), is filled with songs of praise and conversations with the Creator.
It was a morning like that in which I realized one of the most important truths about my faith experience.
I don’t know about you, but my favorite part of sleeping is the few minutes just before my eyes open. I say “few minutes,” but the truth is I am not sure how long these moments, minutes, or even hours take. I just know that it seems to be a blending, or merging, of time. In my mind and thoughts, I see an accumulation of years of events. Sometimes these events involved my wife or my children or any of the other members of my family, both those living and those who have entered the World to Come. Sometimes these scenes are of experiences, like the births of my children or grandchildren. Other times, they may be memories of my time in the Navy and those I served with. I am sure most of those reading this have had these same kinds of memory experiences that seem to take place just before waking up.
Two of these experiences became books that I wrote. The first became a novel called Transient Singularity. The second became a Bible study book called With me in Paradise. But, this article is not about either of those experiences, but one I recently had in which, while I was in the middle of that ethereal semi-dreamlike state, I realized something that had never dawned on me before. In my mind, I was seeing a video-like stream of every miraculous event that has taken place in my life, both since I became a believer in Yeshua and even those before. During these moments, I was reminded of the uncountable miracles that G-D has worked and weaved throughout my life and I realized for the first time that not one of these miracles happened in a way that I expected.
That is not to say that I didn’t expect miracles to happen. My life has been filled to overflowing with miracles. Yet, somehow in the middle of simply being thankful for the supernatural blessings that have taken place in my life, I never really stopped to evaluate the actual miracles themselves. That morning laying in my bed in that time between awake and asleep, G-D lead me through a road map of His miraculous intervention into my life. It was almost as if I was in one of those intelligence headquarters with large screen monitors on every wall. As I looked around, I saw two screens side by side that were playing events from my life. One screen showed my plans for G-D’s supernatural intervention and the other showed His actual intervention. Not once in any of those experiences did G-D choose my plan to bring about a miracle. No, each and every time His intervention was both unexpected and far better than anything outcome that I could have imagined or planned.
We see this over and over in the Scriptures, yet for some reason I never put two and two together before in this way. I have known and quoted Isaiah 55:8-9 many, many times:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” It is a declaration of Adonai. “For as the heavens are higher than earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Yet for some reason even though I mentally knew this truth, it wasn’t until I was shown the evidence in this dream-state that I understood. G-D isn’t looking for us to direct Him what to do in our prayers, “Do this! Do that! Give this! Heal that!”
No. G-D simply wants us to submit our situations into His hands. That is what true prayer is. Prayer isn’t telling G-D what we want Him to do because He doesn’t know or needs our advice and instructions. Prayer is realizing that He already knows what to do. Prayer is not to remind G-D; it is to remind us.
I learned that the reason I was surprised by the unexpected way G-D worked miraculously in my life was because I was spending so much time telling Him what I wanted, so when He didn’t do things the way I planned and instructed Him to do them, I was surprised by the unexpected outcome.
One of my new goals is to never again be surprised by the unexpected miracles that G-D works in my life because it is my goal to never again try to plan the outcome for Him.