Since I first committed my life to following Jesus Christ, the one thing I have found most difficult to do is PRAY! Particularly in the early days it just felt like I was doing nothing when I should have been doing something. I can remember the frustration of asking people, much more mature in their faith, for advice and hearing them say “…let’s pray about this!”
“Just give me some advice that I can act on, will you!”
I now know that much of that reaction came from a deep inner belief that I needed to come through on stuff, make life work, sort things out myself. I really believed that this was all part and parcel of what it meant to be a real man.
But solving every issue in life, and constantly being the answer for everyone around me is just an impossibility and I’m sure God wants to keep it that way.
Because the life that God promises us depends on us walking closely with Him. It flourishes when we depend on Him.
So, the fourth rule by which I am endeavouring to live life by is “I will pray as though my life depends on; because in truth it does!”
Just over two years ago I was at an evangelism conference in Aberystwyth and after the conference had finished, I decided to walk along the seafront, essentially to ‘kick the bar’. If you have no idea what I am talking about you can google the tradition of ‘kicking the bar’ in Aberystwyth. Now, I do need to add that Aber, as it is affectionately known, is literally my spiritual home.
Whilst, I was walking along the prom, I felt very strongly that God was saying to me that I needed to bring my family back to Wales for good. This was, in many ways, great news for me but I knew it might not go down too well with my wife. The back-story here is that we have moved around a fair bit, and I had assured Jo that we would stop doing that. So, whilst the idea of moving back to my homeland was great news to me, I didn’t have a scooby how to explain such good news to my wife.
I remember going to the handrail, and looking out over the sea and praying one of the frankest prayers I think I have ever prayed:
“Father, I love the idea of coming back to Wales but if this is something you are telling us to do then you need to tell Jo—because I am not telling her, AMEN!”
I literally left it there, and I didn’t breathe a word to Jo about that particular revelation.
The following summer, almost by chance, I was back in Aber with the family. Once again, we were walking along the seafront when Jo suddenly said ‘I think we should move back to Wales’. It was literally in the same spot that God had said it to me all those months before and where I had prayed (as if my life depended on it) that God would reveal His plan to my wife.
For the record, we now live back in Wales, in North Wales, and daily we see why God wanted us to come back.
Now I know that had I tried to start that conversation, Jo would not have understood. It would have caused stress in the family and everyone would have felt unsettled. But God had to reveal the plan to us both, in the way that He did. You see, it would not be long before we would begin to see life getting tougher and tougher for us in Cheshire. If we had not been cultivating a life of prayer, as a family, the events that happened to us would only have confused us and possibly taken us out, at least for a while.
Instead, as our life in Cheshire started to unravel, we had confidence that everything was OK, and we ultimately had nothing to worry about because God had a different plan for our future. A plan that no longer involved Cheshire!
There are so many other situations where life and stuff has come at us from left field, but we have had the ability to maintain confidence in God’s planning because we pray!
I know that I cannot solve all of my family’s life issues, but as they used to say in the AA adverts ‘I know a man who can’! Praying as if my life depends on it means that my ability to remain calm under pressure and to think much more clearly is massively enhanced.
So, ‘I will pray as though my life depends on it; because in truth it does!”