Prayer and the Unexpected

As I’ve said earlier, I’m teaching a series on prayer these days.  From within the pile of material and preparation filling my time has come a realization–when we enter conversation with God, odds are good it’s not going to play out how we envisioned.  I know, that could be discomforting because most of the time, we approach God with an idea that we’re pretty certain is a great idea.  We take it to Him, in the hopes that He’ll buy in and put His superior power and influence behind the great idea that we can’t make into reality.

However, what if you don’t get anything near what you went in asking for?

What if your primary agenda item never even gets on the table?

Would you still pray?

Acts 10…

Peter is hungry, and he’s got food on the brain–and we all know the feeling.  (I’m actually feeling it right now.)  Hungrily waiting for lunch to be ready, he enters a trance where a divine dialogue is awaiting him.  Topic?  Food.  Or so it seems.

Animals in a sheet get lowered down.  An invitation to eat is issued.  Peter declines as a matter of religious purity, and God tells him that nothing from His hand is impure.  Repeat this cycle over and over once more, and throw in another Creator-initiated conversation that’s happening to a stranger named Cornelius.

By the end of the story, Peter’s world has turned right over.  He went up on the roof just hungry for lunch.  He came down convicted of racism and hard-heartedness towards the plans of God.  How on earth did he set out for that first point but end up at that last point?  What was in the middle?  A conversation with the Master.

So I’m just saying…

Pray.

But pray carefully.

And I’d advise against going in with rigid expectations–you might just want a sandwich, and God might be waiting to unload the entire kitchen (including the sink… maybe especially the sink!) right on top of you.

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