He also wrote one of my favorite books that I use regularly in ministry, called Systematic Theology. For that dry title, Dr. Grudem does a terrific job, in the words of Garrison Keillor, of putting “the hay down where the goats can get it.”
What does it mean to wait for the Lord? This passage from Systematic Theology encouraged me on Tuesday. To explain it, not surprisingly, he tells a story, and his last thought is greatly encouraging…
“After crying out to God for help in distress, David says, ‘Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yea, wait for the LORD!’ (Ps. 27:14)…
“An analogy from human experience may help us to appreciate the benefit of waiting before the Lord for a response to prayer. If I wish to invite someone home for dinner, there are various ways I can do so. First, I can issue a vague, general invitation: ‘It would be nice to have you come to dinner sometime.’ Almost no one will come to dinner based on that kind of invitation alone. This is rather like the vague, general prayer, ‘God bless all my aunts and uncles and all the missionaries. Amen.’ Second, I could make a specific but hurried and impersonal kind of invitation: ‘Fred, can you come to dinner Friday night at 6:00?’—but as soon as the words are out of my mouth, I rush away leaving Fred with a puzzled expression on his face because I didn’t allowhim time to respond. This is like many of our prayer requests. We simply speak words to God as if the very act of voicing them, without any heart involvement in what we are saying, will itself bring an answer from God. But this kind of request forgets that prayer is a relationship between two persons, myself and God.
“There is a third kind of invitation, one that is heartfelt, personal, and specific. After waiting until I’m sure I have Fred’s full attention, I can look him directly in the eye and say, ‘Fred, Margaret and I would really love to have you come to dinner at our home this Friday at 6:00 p.m. Could you come?’—and then, continuing to look him in the eye, I wait silently and patiently while he decides what to answer. He knows from my facial expression, my tone of voice, my timing, and the setting in which I chose to talk to him that I am putting my whole self into this request, and that I am relating to him as a person and as a friend. Waiting patiently for an answer shows my earnestness, my sense of expectancy, and my respect for him as a person. This third kind of request is like that of the earnest Christian who comes before God, gains a sense of being in his presence, earnestly pours out a request to him, and then waits quietly for some sense of assurance of God’s answer.
“This is not to say that all our requests must be of this nature, or even that the first two kinds of requests are wrong. Indeed, in some situations we pray quickly because we have little time before we need an answer (see Neh. 2:4). And sometimes we do pray generally because we do not have more specific information about a situation, or because it is far removed from us or because of shortness of time. But the material in Scripture on earnest prayer and on waiting for the Lord, and the fact that prayer is personal communication between ourselves and God, do indicate that prayers such as the third kind of request are much deeper and will undoubtedly bring many more answers from God.”
January 26, 2012 at 9:30 pm
Well, the man done good as your stories are the best at making a point become real!
January 26, 2012 at 11:45 pm