by Janet Dance
Life is good right now but my heart still aches for a certain prayer request. It is very personal to me and it definitely lines up with God’s Will. I pray daily but some days my prayers sound more like this, “WHY? No really, WHY? This seems so obvious, WHY?”
Reading through Nehemiah recently, I noticed his plea. In the last portion of the book he runs through a list of all he has done for God and then states, “Remember me, my God, with favor.” (Neh 13:31b)
I can relate. I have faithfully served Him for over 40 years. I have not just attempted to follow His teachings but have served diligently to make His name known and praised. So yeah, He should remember me when he is passing out prayer answers, right? I’m not cocky, it just makes logical sense. So my prayer changes to, “I have done ____________________ and remember me, my God.”
Why should God answer my prayer?
Fast forward a few weeks and this time I am reading in Luke. Jesus is teaching the disciples in parables. A very crude summary of the one I read goes like this:
“When your slave comes in from a long day in the field, do you thank and serve him? No! You still expect him to fix you dinner before he can eat and rest. “In the same way, when you have done all you were commanded, you should say, we are good-for-nothing slaves; we’ve only done our duty.” (Luke 17:10)
When my son was a teenager and half listening to me, he would sometimes say, “Wait, what?” In our home we started using the phrase, “Wait, what? moments.”
My “Wait, what?” moment was when I realized that my works didn’t entitle me to anything. That sort of flies against the “remember me” theory I had been clinging to. So I went back to Nehemiah and found a man who was not feeling entitled, but was desperately wanting to please the Lord. Sort of like a sweet child saying, “Watch me Daddy.”
Because He is!
There’s a big difference between, “Watch me Daddy” and “I have slaved for you in the field so you should serve me now.”
Back in the early years of our marriage and ministry, Mark and I met with his late uncle Dr. Guy Newman, who was a highly respected man in the ministry. I remember him saying to Mark, “Don’t ever expect any privileges because you are in the ministry… but when you get them, don’t ever forget to say thank you.”
I believe there is a God honoring balance of attitude between “… whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Matthew 21:22), and what I was feeling.
The God of the universe does not owe me a thing! He does, however, love me immeasurably and has a purpose and end to my story that I cannot see.
So humbly and trustingly, I continue to pray.