The Power of Noticing What to Pray

 Posted by on January 22, 2011  Add comments
Jan 222011

I am currently in the middle of a 21-day fast, seeking God’s will in several areas of my life and praying for the needs of a number of my friends and family members.

Today, I decided I wanted tomato soup for lunch. So I opened the can of soup, poured it into the saucepan, added the milk, and put it on the stove. I stirred it and turned the eye on high. Sometimes my stove doesn’t work properly so I always start everything out on high and then adjust the heat accordingly.

After I placed the pot on the stove, my Chihuahua notified me that she most urgently had to go to the potty. So I put her harness on her and donned my hoodie, since it was cold and rainy outside. She did her business and pulled me up the deck stairs, ready to get back inside the warm house. That’s when I realized that I, too, could use a potty break. So I went to the restroom and while in there started reading a book from Louie Giglio that I forgot we own. I have to admit, I got absorbed in the words on the pages and then suddenly remembered my soup. “Oh, Lord, please don’t let my soup spill out onto the stove. Please keep it in the pot until I can get in there.”

I quickly washed my hands, running to the kitchen while they were still dripping wet. When I got in there, I was relieved to see that the soup had not bubbled over onto the stove. In fact, I kind of laughed because it was hovering just at the top of the saucepan, contemplating the damage it could do to my stove. “Ha, ha, I got ya!” I declared, as I pulled the pot off the eye. That’s when I became suddenly aware of the smell coming from the saucepan. Burned tomato soup! God had answered my prayer and not let my soup boil over. However, the soup slipped into the wasteland of scorched, unusable matter which no longer even resembled its original appearance.

What happened was I prayed a prayer based off limited vision. I focused on the soup not boiling over and totally didn’t even think about asking God to preserve its taste and, ultimately, its usefulness for me. It was almost as though I had an epiphany. I realized that so many times I pray asking God to “do this” or “do that” when really what I need to ask Him is to have His will, to show me what to pray for, to protect my interests as He would see fit because I have tunnel vision and cannot see the large picture. I mean, if I had just taken a moment to think about it, I probably would have added that to my prayer – that my soup would not scorch. I just didn’t think about it. He could have kept it from burning. But I didn’t ask Him to. How many things in our lives could be done if only we thought to ask Him – to be specific?

Sadly, that was the only can of soup I had so I had to come up with something else to eat. But my taste buds already wanted tomato soup. I was forced to choose something else. Now I’m not saying that it was in God’s plan for me to have the tomato soup and I totally missed out on His best for me because I forgot to pray for it. I’m not that deep of a thinker. My point is simply that since we have no way of knowing exactly all the facets of particular life situations, maybe we should just pray as specifically as we can but ask God to cover all those bases that we forget to pray over or do not realize need praying for in the first place.

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 says, “Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

I am thankful – thankful that God stopped the soup from boiling over even though I missed out on eating it. It saved me from a huge mess! Since I’m fasting and praying, I have the “pray without ceasing” part down pat. In fact, God is probably sick of my constant talking. I try to do a lot more listening than talking but sometimes I get on a roll.

Anyway, Proverbs 4:11-12 says, “I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.”

I want to be wise in my prayer life. I want to be so attuned to the Father and His will for me that when I pray, I’m actually asking for what it is that He would want me to have or do and that I don’t miss the obvious that’s right there in front of me. I want to enjoy not only a “clean stove” but also the “tomato soup” AND that can only be done when I remember to seek His will for my life and pray that He has His way with me.

Sherri Johnson is a homeschool mom (14 years) who is a published author and speaker and who loves to share God with others and to make people laugh. She enjoys speaking to homeschool groups about organization, record keeping, homeschooling high school, keeping kids pure, and more. She has been married for 22 years and has a 20 year old daughter and a 16 year old son. She is a writer who writes homeschool resources and Bible Studies but loves writing Christian Romance more than anything. She has a contract on her first novel, which will be out soon.

Photo courtesy of Kayla Johnson Photography

  5 Responses to “The Power of Noticing What to Pray”

  1. Love this post! So often I think we limit God w/o even realizing it. (Well, maybe just me!) 🙂

  2. I’m wondering how you do the 21-day fast…is it all liquids or do you allow some solids in your diet for those days. I have really been urged by the Holy Spirit to fast in recent days, but I’m not sure where to begin.

  3. I actually didn’t fast from all solids because I have blood sugar issues. I fasted from sweets and boxed cereals. I also fasted from Facebook and computer card games. Basically, I tried to get rid of things that get in the way of my time with God and also foods that are unnecessary. I believe anything you commit to give up and actually do it for that period of time is enough to constitute a fast. It was an awesome experience.

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