I read a quote recently in which the writer reflected that she wished she could pray about a situation, but “it was too late”. Here is something to consider:
God is not within the time line, but with out. Time is His Own creation. He is able to manipulate it to move a shadow backwards 10 steps (2 King 20:9), to stop the sun in its tracks while a battle is being fought (Joshua 10:13). He knows and has told us in His Word the events of what we consider to be the future for even several thousand years, has done so repeatedly since His Word and His prophets were first given to us, and been proven True time and time again. Time constrains the Lord from acting no more than taking fleshly form constrained Him to the grave.
Prayer is not about changing God’s mind, but about changing ourselves. Prayer helps us to seek His will for our lives; it puts us in communication with Him… especially so, if we will be quiet from our requests long enough to listen to His answers. Therefore, if the purpose of prayer is to grow our relationship with Him, and if He is Infinitely God, then the effect of our prayer is no more limited to today and tomorrow than HE is limited to today and tomorrow. He can fix yesterday.
His Word promises that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [His] purpose.” (Romans 8:28) This means that the God who is not constrained by space or time is also not restrained by our failures and mistakes. He knew us in our mother’s womb before we ever drew breath (Psalm 139:13)… knew the mistakes we would make, knew the grief He would suffer with us over our choices, knew the pain we would bring on ourselves. He made us, remember? We did not make ourselves. But He still made us just that particular way, knowing exactly what would happen in our lives. More importantly, He was with us then and He is with us now, and He still loves us. He can take our past and turn it into something beautiful for Him. It might not be something we understand, a piece that makes sense to us right now… because that time that He created is something that does delineate our own thinking and understanding. We don’t need to understand it; we only need to know Him.
I love the perspective that it gives us to realize that God is not within our time limits. The perspective to… pray for your spouse for the years before you knew them… pray for the spouses of your children when they grow up, or for your grandchildren before they are even born. Pray for your parents when they were young and struggling or your mother as she was giving birth to you. Pray for your grandparents as children going through the Great Depression. Pray for the victims of the terrorist attacks during 9/11. Pray for our current and past presidents, for Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Robert E Lee, Martin Luther King, Jr! Pray for the unnamed soldiers lying in shallow graves all over the world. Pray for your children’s Kindergarten classes, for their teachers and administrators and the choices they will all someday make. Pray for Mary and the disciples when Jesus was being crucified… pray for Jesus. No prayer is wasted or without purpose. It brings us closer to His perspective, doesn’t it? It is of value.
WE are of value to Him, and our efforts to approach Him bring joy to His heart. He rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). Nothing we can do or have done can prevent Him from being able to wash us clean. It is a lie and a grievous error to assume otherwise. The Lord God of the Universe gave Himself for us, for me, for you… because His death was the only thing that could clean us up and let Him approach. He loved you too much to live without you; in the most powerful, healthy, Godly way it is possible to mean that.
In her Mitford series books, author Jan Karon mentions “the prayer that never fails”… and explains this to mean, simply and magnificently, prayer for God’s will to be done. If we understand that God’s will is to work things out for the best possible purposes (Romans 8:28), that He is with us always even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28:20), and that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), then we should therefore be able to trust Him with our yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows. Jesus Himself in Matthew 19:26 assures us that “With God, all things are possible.”
Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” And in Ephesians 6, we are reminded that our battle is not of this world, but of powers and spiritual forces.
Philippians 1:9 “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.”
Pray out of time. Pray to have His heart and to be brought closer to Him. Be a participant in this world He has created. We will live forever… shouldn’t we Pray Like It?!