The Now and the “Not Yet.”

As followers of Christ and believers in an Eternal God, we live in the “here and now,” but we also live in something called the “not yet.” Our life here is finite, but our life in the “not yet” is eternal.

Most of what we pray for belongs in the “here and now.” We pray about what we see and know. We may pray for an upcoming surgery, or a looming job loss, or give thanks for something that happened in the recent past, but most of our prayers do not venture into the eternal future.

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Yet, God speaks to us of things to come. No, He doesn’t always reveal details or give us a calendar of times and dates; but He does remind us that what we see is not the whole picture. And we need to remember this when we pray and when we look around us.

Much of the Old Testament, plus parts of the New Testament, are given over to prophecy– visions, promises, warnings about the future. Many of the prophecies have already been fulfilled– in detail. Some of the prophets prayed for revival in Israel and Judah; others prayed for the coming of the Messiah. Their prayers were answered– but not always in their lifetime, and not always in a way they understood. The Apostles, writing to Jesus’ followers looked forward to His return– but they never saw it in their lifetime.

Prayer is not just about us and our immediate needs. Today, spend some time praying with an eternal mindset–that God’s will would be done, in His time and His way. And then, trust that whatever is going on in the “here and now,” it is all part of God’s perfect plan. One that we will understand more fully in the “not yet.”

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Just a Second…

A couple of weeks ago, I published a blog entry called Just a Minute… , which spoke of an effort to get everyone to spend one minute each day praying for their country.  I think this is a good idea, and I hope many people are doing it.

four men seated on rocks facing mountain
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While corporate prayer is a valuable exercise, and setting aside a particular time to pray with others (whether in person or in spirit) is also a great idea, the thought of a short, minute-long prayer seems inadequate, sometimes.  I suppose (indeed I hope) that most people spend more than a minute in prayer if they take this challenge.  It’s easy to do– there are a LOT of things to pray for!

But it struck me as I reviewed this earlier post that God is above, and beyond, time.  A single minute can be as rich and telling of our relationship with him as an entire hour.  And scheduling a particular time to pray is beneficial to us, but it is immaterial to our Father.  He doesn’t keep “office hours.”  There is no need for an “open” sign at the throne of grace– it never closes.  God is never unavailable, or “more” available.  It only takes a split second for us to recognize his omnipresence, and connect to it.

sign open
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There is no need for us to wait for Sunday, or a High Holy Day, or a certain hour to pray.  And our prayers may only last a few seconds or a minute– “God, I need help!”  “Thank you, Jesus!”  “God, please help my neighbor today.”  There is no need to wait until a crisis or miracle, either.  We can pray about things that may seem insignificant to others, but God is honored when we share our thoughts with him first, and throughout the day.

It is wonderful to spend long hours alone with God– when we have the opportunity, and when we have made time to honor him above all.  But he is always present.  Even in chaos and crisis, we can take a split second to remember the one who calms the storms.

time lapse photography of road during golden hour
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