A Thought On Prayer

Detour SignThree years ago our good friend Ji Yun of Tirosh Expeditions asked me and my wife to consider taking a trip to Israel with a group he was organizing.

I told Ji we would pray about it, but everything in me said, “No.” My wife and I had never had a desire to go to Israel, and at the time I was extremely busy preaching every week, running our pastorless church as well as my full time law practice.

However, I told Ji we would pray about it, so, as a matter of integrity we did. After praying for a few days, I said to my wife, “I know this makes no sense, but I think the Lord is saying we should go.” She said, “I feel the same way.”

Well, we went to Israel, and it was a life-changning trip. We’ve been back a second time and are talking about going again next year.

More recently we began to discuss making a move. We’ve lived in our house for fifteen years and rather than keeping cash parked in a bank account being drained by inflation, we thought it more sensible to put the money into a bigger house. So, we began designing our dream home and began looking for a lot in the suburbs near my office.

At some point my wife suggested we should pray about where the Lord wanted us to live. So we prayed. After a few days we came back together to discuss it, and we were both shocked we were hearing the same thing from the Lord: that we should downsize and move downtown.

We had talked in the past about buying a loft downtown where I could stay when I was in trial, but we had never seriously thought about living there full time. Now the Lord had shown us a completely different plan, one that, like the Israel decision, cut against our natural desires. We are now looking for available condominiums in mid-rises and high-rises downtown. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

In the case of the Israel trip and our imminent move, we both went into prayer with a definite desire about what we wanted, and through prayer became convinced the Lord was telling us to do something very different.

And herein is the point: if you always come out of prayer convinced God wants you to do what you wanted to do when you started praying, there is a very good chance you are not hearing the Lord. I suspect our natural desires align with the will of God probably only coincidentally. So, if you never get direction from the Lord that is contrary to your natural desires, you are probably thinking more than hearing in prayer. GS