Humility and Prayer

I am reading a fascinating book called Gray Matter that is the testimony of a neurosurgeon’s spiritual journey as he added prayer to his regular interaction with patients.  What an awesome reminder that God desires to be a part of everything in our lives.
At first Dr. Levi was reticent to suggest prayer because he feared that his patients might take this as a sign that he lacked confidence in his own ability to help them. He certainly did not want to foster fear in patients before a tedious ans possibly life-altering procedure. But under the strong conviction of the Holy Spirit, Dr. Levi chose humility and began to suggest prayer.  Although the common initial reaction was surprise, most agreed to prayer and even appreciated the personal gesture.  Dr. Levi said that offering to pray with his patients, “stripped me of any god-like status” in their eyes. And instead of causing them concern over his qualifications, it actually offered them added confidence and peace.
God’s desire is that prayer be a tool that humbles us before our Sovereign God. Each time we communicate with God through prayer, we are acknowledging His “otherness.” He is not a man. He is a Spirit, not remotely like us, yet intimately concerned for us. Prayer strips us of our own self-confidence, making way for God-confidence.
Unfortunately, prayer is often reserved for a last resort. I can’t say how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “All we can do now is pray.” as if it’s not much, but we’ll give it a try. Wow! What a weak understanding of prayer we have if it seems like, “all we can do.”
Furthermore, prayer is often discussed as something that “works” or “doesn’t work” relegating it to the category of “natural remedies.”  Dr. Levi addresses this idea in his book as well. The first time a case went poorly after he had begun praying with each of his patients, he felt a keen disappointment with God. He felt as though he had entrusted something to God’s care, and God had dropped the ball on him. How I can relate to that feeling of abandonment! What we mean when we say that prayer doesn’t work” is that we did not get the outcome we asked God for. It overlooks the truth that prayer is a precious part of an intimate relationship with God, not a key for guaranteed outcomes.
Prayer humbles us, reminding us of our  dependence on God. And it also opens our hearts to the truth that God is a personal God, who because of His great love, desires fellowship with us. Prayer is God’s gift to us, a precious provision that allows us to enter into communion with Him about every part of our lives, not so He’ll play by our demands, but so we can learn to rejoice in His.

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