Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Prayer – In one billion, three hundred forty nine million, six hundred seventy eight thousand, four hundred and eighty-twelve lessons.

Lesson 7

I hate planning. All planning is a waste of time because no plan ever works as intended. You always have to adjust on the fly so it makes sense to me to just fly by the seat of your pants to begin with.

Plans I have had that did not work out (yet) include:
 A plan to win some lottery and give 90% to charity and buy a Caribbean Island with the rest.
 A plan to make homemade ice cream.
 A plan to win the world cup with a secret play I called “the transverse, tangential, superplay.”
 A plan to write a blog about how prayer can change things when God has a specific plan for the universe and His plan is unalterable.

Sometimes when a plan doesn’t work I just shrug and adjust, like the time I drank “ice cream soup.” Sometimes I get thoughtful about what I can learn from the ruined plan. And sometimes I sit in a corner and sulk for weeks on end with intermittent, blubbering sobs crying that I want my “banky.”

This morning, I had the plan about the blog (the fourth one listed above). I decided to run an experiment about asking people for things that were already unalterable. I decided to ask my wife very sweetly, “Honey, would you please be extra kind to me yesterday?” Like most of my plans, it didn’t work. I was expecting her to be puzzled and confused. I had a great blog planned about it. Instead, she grinned and said “OK.”

This was one of those times when a plan failed and I became thoughtful about it. My wife has a unique sense of self-confidence. She is happy to inform anyone that she is “practically perfect in every way.” She could say “OK” because she is completely confident that she was especially kind to me yesterday. After all, she let me hang around with her…and she’s right, that makes for a good day.

It struck me that God is fairly confident that He is good and kind to His children. I wonder if asking God to bless me, or to bless missionaries, or to do His will, seems kind of silly to Him. Do I expect there is any chance that He would ignore His own character and promises and not bless missionaries? If I quit asking God to bless the missionaries, would He stop blessing them? Of course not! He has promised that he will bless and protect those that are serving Him with their lives. He’s not going to break that promise because I fail to pray for it. But should I bother praying for it when He has already promised it? Does it imply a lack of faith in His goodness if I must ask Him to be good?

I also wonder if part of the way He accomplishes His goals for me is by teaching me to pray for what He has already willed. Does praying that He would bless the missionaries, when He has already promised He would bless them, help me to join in union with Him by joining in union with His purposes and His plans?

Finally, I wonder if God wanted me to have my blog plan this morning, have my plan ruined by my wife’s sweet grin, and learn something valuable anyway. If that’s so, then as unlikely as it seems He might have a plan that’s better than my plan of winning a lottery and buying a Caribbean island too.

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