September 1, 2007

Worship & Answered Prayer

A certain self-made man had an important business appointment, but he couldn’t find a parking place. After driving around the block several times, in desperation he cried out to God, “O God, find me a parking place.”

Just then, someone pulled out from a spot in front of him. The man said, “Never mind, God. I found one.”

I can be a bit dense too. Sometimes I pray for something and when the answer comes, I don’t even recognize it. It happens to many Christians. We joke about praying for patience, because the Bible says “tribulation produces patience” yet still pray the prayer. Then we wonder why we are suddenly overcome with difficulties. Most of us then start asking God to remove the problems without making the connection that these are His answers to the first prayer!

My reading today is in Genesis 24. Abraham wanted a wife for his son, Isaac, someone not of the Canaanites where he lived. He sent his servant to find one among his own people. The servant willingly went on this journey and as he came to the city of Nahor (Abraham’s brother), he said, “O LORD God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham. Behold, here I stand by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink’—let her be the one You have appointed you’re your servant Isaac. And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my Master.”

This is a very specific prayer, something like asking for a parking place only requesting that it be in a certain location and without a parking meter! Nevertheless, God answered the servant’s prayer. The woman to whom he first spoke actually responded with the same words he said in his prayer. Not only that, she was from the family of Abraham, and willing to go back with him to become Isaac’s wife.

This servant, even though his prayer was to the “LORD God of my master” was not dense. He himself knew something about God so when the young woman (Rebekah) responded to his request for water, Genesis 24:26 says, “Then the man bowed down his head and worshiped the LORD.”

Sometimes I keep a prayer journal, partly to remember what I’ve prayed so I will recognize God’s answer, however from this story I know that recognizing the answer is only part of what my response ought to be. The other part is to humbly bow my head and worship the God who heard me pray.

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