Praying in Faith: Giving the Lord His Options

 

Faith is our trust in God as revealed in His Word. It is not about bending Him to our will by the strength of our belief, but about our being conformed to His will by the strength of His grace.

"And they prayed and said, ‘Thou Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two Thou hast chosen'" (Acts 1:24).

If you know the name Warren Wiersbe, you might be surprised to learn he and I had a little disagreement one time. I said to him, "I'm convinced the apostles made a mistake in Acts 1 where they decided to fill the vacancy left by Judas and selected the next apostle." I gave him three reasons: One, the Lord who selected the original twelve was certainly capable of choosing the next one. Two, it seems obvious from the rest of the New Testament that Paul was to be the "thirteenth apostle." And three, we almost never hear of this guy Matthias again.

Dr. Wiersbe, as I recall, pointed out that "I do not want to sit in judgment on the apostles there. This was what they felt God wanted done. And besides, Matthias is not the only apostle of whom we hear nothing afterward." True enough.

But the matter remains unsettled in my mind. It feels to me like the apostles who had been instructed to remain in Jerusalem and "wait for the promise of the Father" (1:4), and who were devoting themselves to prayer (1:14), a very good thing, came to the conclusion that, "As long as we're not doing anything, while waiting on the Holy Spirit, let's take care of some office work." Acts 1:15-26 tells what they did. As though they could handle some matters in the flesh, without the aid of the Spirit.

Sound familiar? You and I have been known to do that. "Lord, which of these two jobs shall I take? Which of these two people should I marry? Which of these two candidates should receive my vote?" Meanwhile, perhaps the Lord in Heaven is thinking, "What if I don't like either one? What if I have something else in mind?"

God's perspective is so broader than ours. We see have such a limited field of vision. That's why "Thy will be done" is the best prayer we can ever pray. We see this in the Lord's prayer in Matthew 6:10, in Gethsemane in Matthew 26:39, and in Paul's prayer in Acts 22:10.

Let's ask the Father for His will, for the best He has. After all, as the writer of Hebrews said, "He has planned something better for us" (Heb. 11:40). Let's ask Him for that!

Joe McKeever is a retired Southern Baptist pastor from New Orleans, Louisiana. He blogs regularly at www.joemckeever.com.

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