There is a lot of time when, frankly, I don’t know what’s going on. And I have something of a pattern of “just keeping-going” anyway. Sometimes I have to—maybe you know what that’s like—but there has to be an interruption in the “I don’t know what I’m doing!” For me, that’s prayer.
Prayer is not first to get stuff done, but to find out what’s been done already—and hopefully with my mind cleared, what’s going on right now.
That’s important to me because waking up can be a stumbling, barging-into-the-day kind of thing. Sometimes I feel as though I’ve wakened in the percussion section of a large, all-dressed-up orchestra, with unfamiliar sticks in my hands. “What are those for?” I think, groggily. With everyone looking at me, I know I have to play what’s required for the piece, but I don’t recognize the tune. “Quick, man! Play something!” I don’t feel right about anything I play.
But the kingdom where God happens most and where I recognize Him best is within. That’s where I find The Conductor, who knows my perfectly designed, small place in the symphony. He knows the piece. He knows the tune. Prayer is meeting with Him, and discovering again that I fit. From there, I can tap a drum. It isn’t much, but it’s my part.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians and, after explaining to them his busy involvement with this world’s kingdom, he wrote in chapter 1:15-16: “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me (What for?) so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, . . .” Oh! There it is, Paul’s fit! Preaching to the Gentiles was his part in The Conductor’s Symphony. And, having had God revealed to him on the inside, Paul’s immediate response “was not to consult any human being.” Why not? Because people have a way of confusing God-given simplicity—“Tap your drum, Ralph”—by adding the human complexity of opinion. In other words, we make up our own symphony and try to conduct the whole thing. We soon lose our simple part and fit, and the music is way off.
Fortunately, God convinced Paul about design and what had been done for that already, and Paul learned in solitude to keep himself to it. For the same reason, I treasure solitude prayer, if even in my office or in my car. God has much to give me! And much to give you. Our parts in the symphony are really quite simple and the notes required are easy. For me, finding my fit with The Conductor—over and over again—is the first and primary benefit of prayer.