Throughout my years of schooling, I prayed silently before every scholastic test I took. As I looked back over my years in high school, I recalled how there were times when I didn't do so well on tests, and I was puzzled about why. I thought, "I prayed, didn't I?" Regardless of whether I had prayed or not, the key to the test was studying. I was asking God to help me pass a test that I hadn't studied for. I was asking Him to bring to my mind information I hadn't planted there in the first place. It is only common sense that the key to doing well, was to study. While many people may find this account of my life humorous, they are doing the same thing with more serious issues. People are resting their goals and desires on prayer, when they have the means, and the resources to make it happen themselves.
My mother is a very energetic person. She exerts extra emotion when she is captivated in the news, sport events, or a game show. Out of all of her forms of expression, however, it is her scream that I dislike the most. The reason for this is because her scream of distress when something bad has happened and her scream of anguish or excitement about something are the same scream. She yelled one time, and I stopped my shower to investigate, only to find that she was just yelling about the team she wanted to win on a game show. Another time, I was backing out of the driveway, and she yelled so loud, that it could be heard in the street outside. I rushed in thinking something critical had happened, only to find out that the dog had just pooped on the carpet. In those moments I feel bewildered, and upset because there was no need to go get involved. I feel like God laughs with that same emotion at some of our requests. God looks at our situations, and wonders why we are so enthusiastic about praying to Him with a sense of emergency, when we have the power to fix the problem, or reach the goal ourselves. We cry, and continuously petition for divine intervention, when the only thing that really needed help was our own work ethic.
How we behave in the time between when we set a goal and when it is achieved, or when we make a petition and when it is granted, is a reflection of how we view whatever it is that we desire. Those who are certain that what they want is attainable, go after it. Those who see their desire as impossible sit and wait for some kind of miracle, instead of looking for what they can do.
One of my favorite men in the Bible is a man named David. In I Samuel chapter 16, God informs the prophet Samuel that he is to travel to the home of a man named Jesse, and while there, God will show Samuel which one of Jesse's sons have been selected to be king. Out of all of Jesse's sons, it was the youngest of them all, named David, who was a shepherd that was selected to be the king. While the other brothers were older, better trained, more exposed, and all around more qualified, it was what David did in the meantime that separated him from the others. While in the pasture, David would sing songs of worship, and cultivate his relationship with God. Not only was he developing himself spiritually, but also developing his character. Taking care of sheep taught David responsibility, how to have a protective instinct, how to be strong, and how to be wise. I can't imagine that David had becoming a king in his sights, or thought that being a shepherd was the precursor to royalty, but I'm sure he simply took advantage of the experiences around him, by putting forth effort in the job he had.
Instead of becoming frustrated with the amount of time transpiring between your request or goal and its fulfillment, seek out how you can invest in yourself, and invest in your goal while you wait. You never know; perhaps the only thing your dream is waiting on, is for you to take the first step. When you invest in yourself, keep two things in mind: prepare your mind and body by learning all the necessary skills and knowledge, but also prepare your spirit by developing your character and integrity so that you can know how to handle your success. Most of all, keep close to God. Do all in your power, and leave the impossible stuff to God. What happens in the meantime is often greater than what happens in the end.