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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Delay to Pray

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

~James 1:5 (NIV).

One of my inherent weaknesses—a bane at times really if I’m honest—is that I tend to be very instinctual and don’t often (enough) commit action to prayer beforehand. Call this either a trust of God’s will as divined by the self or, at times, foolishness; certainly it’s both accordant to the time.

This does, however, home into the issue of delaying some action for the benefit of prayer; which is something I also do, just not all the time.

A ‘Judgment’ Call

Only recently I contacted a person regarding some interaction and gave them my view, which I believed was the truth, but I probably didn’t need to—I could have just let it go, a.k.a. grace.

The wiser ‘me’ would have, and certainly with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight I now would have.

Nonetheless, I kicked this ball into play and as a result it saw some conflict evolve—across the oceans, so to speak. Nothing major, but dissonant spirits we were. I’m such a pacifist in many ways and the slightest conflict most times grieves my spirit. So, I was left to lament the action. I can only surmise that the other person was grieving about this issue—and my handling of it—too.

All judgment calls—and we all make them, just some more than others—cannot always be free of error.

Sometimes Delay is Good

This merely reminds me of the value of delaying some things to pray; and those certainly that will involve potential conflict and even contribution to hurt.

Of course, we won’t get everything right.

Sometimes we’ll delay something we need to get onto, for need of ‘prayer,’ and we’ll miss the boat, or our lack of immediate action will actually cause conflicts to swell for lack of what’s termed ‘damage control.’ Alternatively, there’ll be times when we should’ve delayed but we hopped in and it turned pear-shaped because of our boldness for action.

Wisdom is What We Should Pray for

James says we only need to ask it of God—i.e. for wisdom—and he gives it to us freely, abundantly, generously (James 1:5).

Perhaps in the above situations we’re reminded by God’s Spirit that we need to become more adept at praying, “Lord, give me the wisdom to deal with this situation, according to your will.”

This too is a reminder to ensure we do actually pray, for without prayer we’ll often have no idea—and certainly no confirmation of—what the real will of God is.

At these times we might sense the gently wandering Holy Spirit cautioning us to simply wait on the better word; perhaps we’re reminded to be patient as we wait.

When we see relational disasters averted by humble obedience in prayer, and certainly in our patient waiting, we are truly encouraged and indeed overwhelmed by the wisdom and grace of God.

We want more of this, surely.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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