The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Prompts To Prayer"
"Pray without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17).
By no means does the Apostle Paul mandate continual prayer in a conscious sense by the command to "pray without ceasing." Our brains are not presently constituted for such an endeavor. Constant communication with God in this sense would render us unable to communicate with human beings, and also unable to function in the fulfillment of our responsibilities. Paul rather calls us to live in the attitude and atmosphere of prayer, trusting the Lord to motivate communion with Him as opportunities arise, and as led by His Spirit, His Word, His church, His world, and also by what we might called "prompts to prayer."
I experienced one of the latter yesterday as I walked on a busy street. I had just left a coffeeshop where I had taken a break halfway through my walk. I had some coffee left in my cup and decided to take it with me for the rest of my journey. Normally, when I do this, I remove the cardboard sleeve many coffeeshops provide to absorb the heat that radiates through the cup. I forgot to do so, and not far into my walk, I removed the sleeve and placed it in my pocket. Soon thereafter, and unbeknownst to me, the sleeve fell out of my pocket. I hadn't walked far before I heard a voice. "You lost something back there!" said a nice lady who literally stopped her car in busy traffic to inform me. She likely thought I had dropped something that might be valuable. I was deeply touched, expressed my appreciation, and circled back to find whatever I had dropped.
At first, I saw nothing. I checked my pockets to see if I had everything of value, and then finally turned around, deciding that whatever I had dropped must have been something I could live without. That's when I saw the sleeve, lying in a tuft of grass next to the sidewalk. I picked it up, put it back on the cup to ensure no further incidents, and went on my way. I thought to myself, "It was really nice of the lady to let me know I had dropped something, and I certainly don't want to be a litterbug. However, if she knew how insignificant the sleeve is, she probably would not have…"
Then it occurred to me. "The sleeve is not insignificant at all. The Lord has just built an altar in my heart." By this, I mean an altar of prayer. I realized God was not uninvolved in what happened. I don't know if He caused the sleeve to fall from my pocket. That seems more due to my error than anything else. However, I do know He foresaw the incident, and purposed to create by it the opportunity of a lifetime. By this, I simply mean I can pray for the dear lady involved in the matter whenever it comes to mind. This will be often because we regularly walk and drive in the area. I will frequently pass by the spot where she called out to me, and the area where I found the sleeve. My plan, therefore, is to pray for the lady whenever I do. Again, a prompt to prayer.
Of course, I know nothing about the lady, other than she was nice enough to try to help me. She succeeded in that. I didn't litter! But even more, she gave me the opportunity to pray for her. Or rather, the Lord made that possible. I also know how to pray for her even though I don't know her. "Heavenly Father, thank You for the nice lady, whose name I do not know, and whose life is a complete mystery to me. However, her life and heart is an open book to You. I therefore pray You will work in her life in accordance with what You know, and in accordance with Your glory, will, and the lady's heart, life, and needs." Again, I do not know the lady. But I know the One who does know her, perfectly. And that will be enough for prayers motivated by Lord, which I trust He will work to answer.
God will lead us to build many such altars as we seek to walk with Him in the attitude and atmosphere of prayer. We will not see His answers with our physical eyes. Deep in the heart, however, His Spirit will assure that as we avail ourselves of the opportunities He provides, our Father will answer in ways "exceeding, abundantly above all we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). Prompts to prayer - we do well to expect them, look for them, and be amazed by the grace our Father gives whereby He fulfills purposes beyond our imagination as we fulfill our calling to "pray without ceasing."
"And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."
"Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving."
Weekly Memory Verse
"He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."