Stop Asking, Start listening!
Did you hear the one about the governor of Georgia? He said, "We've come together for one reason only: to pray up a storm" He's asked his state to pray for rain in order to put an end to the water shortage that's unfolding there. He's even trying to suspend the endangered species act so that he can divert waterflow that otherwise would have headed to Florida in order to preserve the mussels that are endangered there. After all, a million-gallon mountain of artificial snow is surely more important than an entire species of crustacean, right?
Maybe not. Maybe, rather than simply praying for rain, the good governor should consider the possibility that his state is wasting water on vain and superficial projects at a time when droughts are on the rise and conservation is appropriate. It reminds me a bit of Joshua, who was praying after his army suffered a defeat at Ai. God's response to his pious prayers is a bit surprising: So the LORD said to Joshua, "Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face?
In other words, God has this funny way of stripping our piety away from us and revealing our true agendas. Perhaps instead of continuing to ask God to simply bless us in our endeavors, we need to spend a bit of time allowing ourselves to be reshaped by His ethics. This certainly applies to our relational ethics, but let's not stop there. How about our environmental and economic ethics. I've been immensely impressed during my travels in Europe by things like solar energy farms (entire fields with solar panels collecting and distributing energy), wind farms, and commitments to allowing people who establish a solar collection capability in their homes to sell their excess back to the grid, thus encouraging conservation. All this from 'post Christian' Europe, while America continues to resist making the sacrifices and movement towards simplicity and alternatives, which would eventually enable us to be part of global solutions.
But I digress. My point here is simply that we need to make certain in our praying that we're not simply asking God to bless our own personal agendas, but rather that we're taking time to listen as well, so that we might hear from God and adjust our lives according to His story.