Go Where Your Best Prayers Take You
I've been pondering this quote from author, pastor, and poet Frederick Buechner for a while now, and today it just seems to be speaking to me differently:
Go where your best prayers take you.
I don't know about you, but the first question that comes to mind as I think about what this means is: "What constitutes my best prayers?"
Or, to put it another way, "How do I differentiate between the various prayers I offer to God and then determine which ones need to be followed?"
That's a difficult question for most of us because we tend to think that our best prayers are the ones we offer on behalf of others or behalf of our world. These seem noble and selfless.
We seldom think that our best prayers might be the ones we pray for ourselves because we secretly believe God might think us selfish.
But what if our best prayers are simply the ones we pray when we are at a loss for words or the ones we pray when we can't see a way forward and need direction?
What if our best prayers are offered to God out of desperation, born out of a need to let go of what burdens us and let God do what God will do? These are the prayers we pray when we surrender ourselves to God's purposes, releasing our need for control and acknowledging our helplessness.
This changes things. It moves us from feeble questions about selfishness to resolutions of how much we need to rely on God. Our best prayers can then be about anything we pray when we pray with an attitude of surrender.
Our next move is to go where these prayers take us.
You might think this is easier said than done, and you'd be right. Surrendering to God's will God's way is complicated. It's the hardest thing for most of us, primarily when we've grown accustomed to handling our problems, even when we've done a poor job.
And yet, when we pray with an attitude of surrender, echoing the words of Jesus, "Not my will, God, but yours be done," something unique happens: We begin to see more clearly what our next steps might be, and what it will take to take them.
Author Shane Claiborne calls this "becoming the answer to our prayers."
So as you pray today for yourself, for others, and the world... do so with an attitude of surrender, giving all your prayers to God, who already knows the burdens you carry, the desires of your heart, and the needs you may not even be able to express.
Then go where those best prayers take you. Follow the voice that speaks to you from within your soul and has spoken to you and over you all your life--the voice of a God who loves you and wants the very best for you, for all whom you love, and for all of Creation.
May this give you hope and joy, and direction. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.