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Read:  Matthew 6:9

“Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

One of Garth Brook’s songs, “Unanswered Prayers” always make me chuckle. It’s the story of former high school sweethearts who cross paths years later and are thankful that their relationship DIDN’T work out as they had prayed as teenagers, thus the line, “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers”.

We’ve all prayed to God about something, sometime, trying to bargain, persuade, or convince God to answer our prayers in the way that we want.  Sometimes, in hindsight, we are thankful that God didn’t answer our prayer in the way that we wanted.  Consider these words from John Wesley as the America Revolution began:

“I desired as many as could to join together in fasting and prayer, that God would restore the spirit of love and of a sound mind to the poor deluded rebels in America.”    –  John Wesley

John Wesley was a renegade, but he was not a rebel.  He didn’t want to start a new denomination, i.e. having “Methodists” split off from the Church of England.  And, Wesley didn’t grasp the flow of history and the decisive momentum of democracy that was building in America. We, in America, can be thankful for Wesley’s “unanswered prayer”, or more accurately, for God’s answer of “No”.

John Wesley was a deeply committed man of prayer.  But prayer isn’t about convincing God to do what we want God to do.  Prayer, by Jesus’ example, is to open ourselves up to God’s will.  Jesus prayed, “Thy will be done”.

Tomorrow is Independence Day, our nation’s birthday.  Many will hold our nation in prayer, and many of those prayers will tell God to do this or that, because people often think and act as if we know what’s best. I believe in prayer, and encourage you to pray, but let’s learn to pray like Jesus, seeking to be open to know and then do, God’s will:  “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Shalom,

Pastor Rob Nystrom