How often do you pray? Me? I pray daily, usually (from a habit of doing so when I was still working) every time I get in my car or ride my bike. And when I pray, as I suspect you all do, I ask God to do things for me.
If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.
I ask to be forgiven of the sins I have committed and to strengthen me to avoid them in the future. I lift up those I love and care about, and then I get into the other things. You know, things like protection or help in remembering the Hebrew I am teaching myself.
On Monday and Wednesday, as I am driving to meet my friends for our golf game, I also pray for God to help me maintain my composure and not get so angry when I duff a shot.
You see, as I have mentioned before, the one thing that gets my goat faster than anything else is when I screw up a golf shot. I know the Pro’s do it, and often, and that it is only a game, and that most of the reason I get angry is because of my own pride. But, still and all, knowing why something happens doesn’t always help to control what we do when it happens.
Besides, I don’t like doing anything half-donkey and that is not a bad trait; but, when it gets out of control, that is not a good thing.
So, yesterday I prayed for better control and to have the peace that the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) gives if and when I mess up some golf shots.
I prayed, and that was that. I know God hears our prayers, and that he will answer. Sometimes it’s “Yes”, sometimes its “No”, sometimes it’s “OK, but not yet”, and most of the time it is not what we expect or when, but it is always exactly what we need.
Now I start to play. The first hole starts off OK, a nice drive, a good second shot, and then the game goes down the tubes. Instead of getting bogies or pars, as I usually do (I tend to score in the high 80s or low to mid-90s), I was getting double and triple bogies. I couldn’t sink a putt if I was aiming for the Grand Canyon, and my wedge, which is usually my best iron, was on strike.
It took me, and I say this to my credit, only until the 4th hole when I realized that God was answering my prayer from that morning: he was teaching me how to not get mad by giving me every opportunity to practice not getting mad.
As I said, the answer to prayer is not often what you expect it to be. I was hoping for a supernatural calmness that was from the indwelling Spirit, but instead, I was thrown into a lousy game and told, “Sink or swim”; or, in this case, smile or scream.
Through these lessons, I am learning how God works. For me, and maybe this is what happens to you, too, God will answer my request to be better by creating the environment where I need to be better, then throwing me head-first into it! He will not miraculously change my attitude or my personality, or even my thinking: no, he will create the opportunity for me to learn to do what I want to, and sit back and watch how well I do. It is up to me to become better, and he always has my back, meaning that if I fail he will take me out of the test.
At one point yesterday after my drive sliced into the next fairway, I dubbed the next shot into a strand of trees, then hit a tree, I screamed, “Alright already- I am failing the test!” (It wasn’t loud enough for anyone else to hear.)
Then I asked God to forget what I said, and confessed I am still in need of help. I gave in to the fact that this was going to be a bad day, and I should just play and enjoy the company of my friends. After all, no one can be good all the time.
I guess that confession was a passing grade because then I calmed down and my game improved.
I was also thankful to God for answering my prayer. I didn’t necessarily like the way he did it, but I was thankful.
In case you’re interested, I shot a 51 on the front nine, but a 42 on the back nine, so I ended up playing my usual game. However, more important than learning a lesson about self-control, I received an answer to prayer, which is always a blessing and more important than any score could ever be.
Today’s message is this: remember my experience and review, in your own life, how many times you have been answered by God but maybe didn’t realize it at the time. And, as I said in my message from the other day (Always Be Listening), when you pray, remember that you will receive an answer, so stay alert.
God will not change you but he will give you the opportunity and the tools to change yourself. He will place you in the fire, which is the only way the dross can be burned away, and when the fire gets too hot, he will pull you back out again. The best part is that the more often you are placed in the fire, the more heat you will be able to take, and the more purified you will become.
Thank you for being here; please subscribe and share this ministry with others. If you have had a similar experience, I would love to have you share it with me and my subscribers.
Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!