Last spring, Christy and I made a trip to Asheville, North Carolina. Our intent was to visit the Biltmore House and enjoy a few days to ourselves. Both were accomplished and the evening before we returned home I began to prepare for our trip home.
I love driving through the mountains, Christy not so much. Well, she enjoys the mountains; it is my driving through them that causes the angst. I had noticed that there seemed to be a road not far from our hotel that would give us access to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was determined to take the road and spend some of our trip home admiring the views on the Parkway. I was the only one excited but since I was driving I made my plans for me.
The road to the Parkway was as bad as you could have imagined it being; narrow, winding, and steep. There were moments when you could see some pretty spots but much of the road was covered by overhanging trees, and rock outcroppings which prevented you from seeing far at all. There were no scenic overlooks where we could stop and enjoy the view, but we had to push on towards what we hoped was the Blue Ridge Parkway at the top of the mountain.
Turning the final corner I was excited to see the four-lane highway of the Parkway stretching out beyond us. However, I was mortified to see the locked gate which blocked my access to the Parkway. Due to possible ice on the road the Parkway had been closed and all of the access points were locked.
As I thought about my prayer life today I remembered this incident in my life. Many, many times, my prayers are about getting what I want, fulfilling my needs and desires, oftentimes at great cost to others. In Psalm 2 the Psalmist writes of the danger that awaits men and women who reject the coming Christ. He proclaims the greatness of God, but in the end he gives a plea to those who have rejected Christ that they return to the Savior.
When prayer becomes rote and mechanical, I end up being as fulfilled as my trip up the mountain that cool spring morning. I reach the top but the obstacle that faces me still seems insurmountable. I pray for myself and rarely pray for others. I proclaim my needs, as I should, but my intent is so much on self that I miss the glory of Who Christ is. As the Psalmist writes of Christ’s glory this prompts him to return with an appeal that all who have rejected Christ would turn to Him.
How often does our prayer reach full-circle? From the proclamation of our needs, do we recognize the glory and power of God? Does our recognition of the beauty and majesty of God lead us to have concern for others and a desire for them to receive the blessings of Christ individually?
My day is so complex and my personal needs so great – no matter how insignificant they may appear to others – that I must pray. Not only must I declare my needs, my hopes, and my desires but there is an overriding truth that accompanies my desire to pray. I must simply know that my Father in Heaven knows that I realize my needs, hopes, and desires, must be fulfilled and can only be fully realized through Him. I cannot rest until I am assured that He knows my heart.