'81 Volvo and Prayer
This past Sunday I spoke on prayer and some of the things that get in the way of us and God.
My first car, an '81 Volvo, was my pride and joy. However, it had a ton of things that gave me trouble. It had been on fire, repainted with a slightly flesh-colored beige, and was plagued with electrical problems. The question wasn't "what was broken?" but rather "what was not broken?"
Many times when we are surprised that we're distanced from God or feel like He's not hearing our prayers, we should ask the same kinds of questions. If we look closely at our lives, we may find we have unconfessed sin, conflicts with our brothers/sisters, selfish motives, or a simple lack of faith. Often we don't even realize how much is really broken until God is slow to answer. Only in those quiet hours do we take the time to live an examined life and realize all of the things that are standing between us and the Lord. James tells us that God uses "trials of many kinds" to help us grow in our faith and solidify our relationship with Him. This helps to prevent what Scripture calls "double-mindedness."
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. James 1:2-8 (NIV)