Wednesday, November 4, 2009

PRAYING FOR THE IMPOSSIBLE


2 CHRONICLES 6:18-19

 But will God indeed dwell with man on earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built! Yet have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his plea, O Lord my God, listening to the cry and to the prayer that your servant prays before you.

Sometimes I think I must pray pretty small prayers. I pray for the welfare and growth of my church. I pray for my family and friends. I bless the Lord and confess his goodness and my need for him. But I do not often pray for the impossible.

Solomon prayed that the Lord would come and be among his people in the temple he constructed. Yet he recognized that even the vastness of heaven did not contain God. If that were so, how then could this house hold him? Solomon had perspective. He knew his building was inadequate even though it was a remarkable human achievement in construction and design. The building was not so much to house God but to remind people of God’s holy presence with them. The sight of the temple was to wake them up to God’s righteousness and mercy, his holiness and justice.

Still, he prayed that the Lord would come in answer to his prayer to dwell with Israel, to judge her and forgive her when she recognized her wrongs. He asked the Lord to fill that building

What are my impossible prayers? I would ask God to save Eugene / Springfield and Fresno, California.   I would ask God to renew his church and make them all holy. I would ask that God finish poverty and homelessness in our midst. Why do these seem impossible? Because I know everyone will not buy into God as the source of the answer. Still, I know it is God’s desire that all people know him and live to honor him. Paul prayed that we would know the limits of God’s limitless love – another impossible prayer (Ephesians 3). In perspective, it means asking God to do something incredible and standing ready to receive his answer. The Lord filled Solomon’s temple with this presence. How much more can he fill us with the fullness of himself when we stand ready to receive his answer?