Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | May 11, 2013

May 11, 2013 “Not A Chance”

“And  then they prayed, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen.” (Acts 1:24)

Good Morning Dear Friends!

As many of you know, for nearly two years I served a church in Las Vegas, Nevada (Yes…THAT Las Vegas)! It would be incorrect of me to say that this was not a city of prayer. In fact, I am quite sure that many a prayer was uttered as people sought divine intervention at the gaming tables and slot machines that had such a ubiquitous presence in the city. The prayer uttered by the disciples in this passage from Acts reminds me of such prayer. Why would I come to such a conclusion? This was a prayer lifted up in all seriousness. The disciples were seeking God’s choice in filling the spot among the twelve left by Judas, who had betrayed Jesus and then taken his own life. I come to this conclusion because of what they did after they prayed this prayer. Just prior to this prayer, Jesus had instructed his followers to wait for the promised Holy Spirit to empower them for the mission he had in mind for them. That promise would be filled at the Pentecost event, recorded in chapter 2 of Acts. They had not yet received this promised power, but forged ahead with their plans to fill the twelfth spot in the inner circle. They prayed, and then, instead of waiting for God’s answer, they “Tossed the dice” so to speak, casting lots to determine who the newest member of the twelve would be. Scripture tells us that “the lot fell on Matthias. It has always been fascinating to me to discover that we know virtually nothing about his ministry. He is never mentioned again in scripture. The name which does come to the forefront shortly thereafter, however, is one we know quite well. That man was Paul…God’s choice.

When we pray, we should not make the mistake of “forcing God’s hand”, as it were, by chance. It’s similar to standing at the roulette wheel and praying, “Lord, show me where to place my bet…red or black.” That’s not how God works. Prayer involves trust and patience…trust that God will always do what is right, and patience that God is always faithful. Prayer is not a gamble…it is a sure thing. “For his mercies shall endure…ever faithful, ever sure” let’s Pray!

Faithful God; Teach us as we pray, to do with confidence and patience, understanding that your instructions are always right and for our benefit. Help us understand that while your answers to our prayers may not be what we expect or seek, that they are for our benefit, for you are the giver of every good and perfect gift. Guide our hearts throughout this new day, that at the end of the day we may know with certainty your abiding presence throughout every moment we spend. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

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