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Desperation or dedication?

Desperation or dedication?

Posted: Thursday, August 6, 2009 2:10 pm

The Messenger, August 6, 2009
Written by members of the Obion County Ministerial Association
One of my favorite passages in all of scripture is Psalm 46. Read it and you will see why. It is important for us to know, believe and understand that our God is always with us. He is especially with us in times of trouble. Unfortunately, we often try to take advantage of God’s generous and gracious help.
We have all been in the position where we are confronted by some possibly terrible event, either in the near future or far. In those times we often turn to God in prayer, begging for His help because we know He has promised it. Sadly for many, that is the only time they turn to prayer. It becomes an act of desperation rather than a practice of dedication. I suspect it doesn’t take God long to figure out He’s being played.
I’ve even known a few people who would pray for forgiveness for something they knew they were going to do. I don’t want to sound too critical, but it rather puts me in mind of the old country-western song, “I’m Gonna Get Drunk and I Sure Do Dread It.”
Isn’t it presumptuous of us to think that God is going to understand that we know we’re doing wrong, planning on doing wrong, meaning to do wrong and trying to absolve ourselves before the deed is done? That must make God laugh out loud.
We are also often guilty of praying as though we’re playing “Let’s Make a Deal.”
Somehow I suspect that God has difficulty accepting a plea which has strings attached.
God can get away with telling us, “If you do thus and so, then I will do this,” but I don’t believe it works the other way around. But we do love to try to “out-God” God, don’t we?
Paul tells us that we should “pray without ceasing.” That must be one of the best pieces of advice ever given. But we must understand that our prayers must be real, sincere and truly from our hearts. What Paul really suggests is that all of our lives should be lived in an attitude of prayer — creature to creator. When we can do that, and when we can hear and understand the answers to our prayers, then, indeed, God will be a present help in trouble — and in joy and in every thing.
Rev. Hugh D. Barksdale, pastor
Mount Zion/Rush Creek United Methodist churches

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