Have you ever heard someone you respect give advice about something you are already doing? Don’t you feel like a champion? What a glorious deja vu!
That happened to me recently when I was reading my pastor’s new book, Questions of the Heart. The book is about sharing God’s message of hope and reconciliation with a hurting and broken world not by leading with what we think we need to say, but stopping to listen to the needs and questions coming from the hearts of others. It is a gentle, humble, and grace-filled approach.
The passage pictured above is the part where I experienced that wonderful aha moment of, “I do that!”
I first started thanking God in advance for answering my prayers after reading a New Testament passage, John 17:20. Jesus is praying and says, “My prayer is not for them [the disciples] alone. My prayer is for those who will believe in me through their message.”
I remember reading that passage as a new Christian at the age of 15 and thinking that Jesus had prayed for me so long ago. I was one of those people He mentioned who would come to believe as a result of the disciples spreading His message. Jesus was thinking about me during that prayer! How about that?
I knew Jesus loved me. I knew Jesus’ death paid the price for my sin, but I never thought about Jesus thinking of me specifically. I always thought of myself as a member of God’s family, one of millions, part of the bigger mosaic of God’s plan- not as an individual that would come to Jesus’ mind.
I love the concept of the bigger picture. When we pray, we are submitting ourselves before God, asking for His blessing, guidance, and provision. Thanking God in advance for the movement of His hands through time and space to interact in our daily lives shows we trust that He is who He says He is.
If Jesus thought to pray for those of us who would come to believe in Him in generations to come, doesn’t He also hold us closely in His hand? With a love so tender, does it not make sense to thank Him in advance for how He will conduct circumstances for our greatest good and His greatest glory?
I pray these words will bring comfort to your soul and incline your heart to seek God’s presence in your daily life.