Saturday, November 10, 2012

Prayer and Groceries

Prayer and Groceries


For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” – Matthew 6:8

Today I get to take my son to Wal-Mart.  Oh, it might not sound like much fun, but to me it’s something I always look forward to.  He’s almost 22 now, living away from home, going to college, constantly busy and we don’t get to see each other often.  When we go grocery shopping, we get to merge our lives for just a little while.  I’m getting groceries for our house, he’s getting them for his, and through the isles we go together, not just shopping - but talking about everything.  We talk about things we’ve discovered we like to cook or eat, people we’ve met, work and school, and just whatever comes to mind.
There are some things I already know will be going into his grocery basket before we even get started.  Cranberry juice, Fruit Roll-ups, Hormel Chili, and Dill Pickle Chips will be put into the shopping cart just as sure as I’m breathing!  He loves them!  These are his favorites.  I know this because for 22 years, I’ve been feeding this kid. 

Our grocery trips are much like prayer.  Prayer is a time of fellowship, and a time of having our needs met as well as finding our needs.  Matthew 6:8 says For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.  Without even asking, God knows the things we hold dear to our heart, and knows what we need.  He knows because we have an intimate relationship with Him.  Within our very soul, His Holy Spirit lives. 
Sometimes we cannot find the words to pray.  Either through the confusion of life we can’t pinpoint what it is that is frustrating us, or we just can’t bear to say it.  During those times, His Holy Spirit makes intercession for us “with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).  Likewise, when something is wrong in my son’s life, he doesn’t have to say it. It’s in the look on his face, the tone of his voice, and the distraction in his eyes.  

As we go through the isles, I ask a lot of questions like “Do you need laundry detergent?” or “What about peanut butter?”  I bring things to his mind to see if he needs them.  When we pray our mind wanders, and that’s a good thing!  That’s when God speaks.  He brings things to mind that we should pray about. It’s in those quiet times during prayer that God shows us His concerns and His intents toward us.  It’s those times that we hear from His heart, and He chooses to offer us things we may not think to ask for, such as new jobs or new vocations.
Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” God knows our needs, and waits for us to ask.  It’s not that we’re telling Him something He doesn’t know, but because we’re giving Him the chance to fulfill that need.  By turning it over to God, we allow Him the glory and praise for it.  We don’t have to be anxious in asking.  We just need to ask, and then thank Him for it.  Praise is to be part of prayer.

As much as we need groceries to live, we need prayer.  Matthew 26:41 says “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  The “spirit” here is lower case, indicating our own spirit, and not the Holy Spirit.  We are two parts – flesh and spirit.  Our flesh is weak, and temptations and struggles are around every corner.  We pray so that our spirit can be recharged to overcome our flesh. 2 Timothy 1:7 says He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.” But if you only feed your flesh, only your flesh becomes strong.  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).  Allow Him to strengthen your spirit in prayer.

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