The Still Small Voice

The Art of Reflection - Loaded Questions

 Chapter Five, Part Four






Weighted questions that change the way we approach things

He who sacrifices thank-offerings honours Me,
and prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.
(Psalm 50:23)

When I look through the viewfinder of my camera, I sometimes sense that the balance of a picture does not look quite right. All I often have to do is to move a short distance and find another angle for it to line up better.

It is rather like this in prayer. If we are not getting through on one track, it may be time to change the angle of our praying. Suppose that you have been praying for a long time for someone (or something) that is very dear to your heart. With the passing of time, such prayer can easily become less a matter of dynamic faith than of merely expressing our wishes – vocalizing our unbelief even.

Instead of coming in from ‘underneath’ what is clearly a protracted problem, how about praying something like this: ‘Lord, thank You that You are far more concerned than I could ever be about this situation – and even now You are looking for the best way to answer all these years of prayer. Thank You!’

Such an injection of gratitude refreshes our spirit, and restores us to an attitude of faith. What happens, though, when we feel as though we are getting no answer to questions that need answers, such as, ‘Lord should I do such and such today?’ The obvious thing to do then is to take the most sensible way forward and pray something like, ‘Ok, Lord, I’m planning to do this – is there any reason why I should not go ahead and do it?’

Take a simple example. You want to go to a meeting in a town and you don’t seem to be getting any answer to the question, ‘Should I go to it Lord?’ Well, you want to go to it, you’ve got the time and resources to go, (or, at least, you can make yourself free if you push!) so why not ‘front load’ the question and put it this way? ‘Lord, unless You show me differently, I’m going!’

Of course some might use this approach to make sure they always end up getting what they want. If we approach it in the right spirit, however, and with a willingness to accept any checks the Lord gives, ‘weighting’ questions in this way will often break the logjam and gets us moving again. After all, the Lord has promised that it is if we are in danger of going off course that we will hear a voice behind us saying, ‘This is the way walk in it.’ (Is. 30:21)

Do we not fare much better when we approach God by looking up at Him in praise and worship,[10] rather than just at all the difficulties involved? Otherwise we may find ourselves getting weighed down bewailing our predicaments – to say nothing of all our own faults and failings.

Isn’t this what ‘looking away unto Jesus’ is all about? As I was confessing for the umpteenth time the other day the way I felt I had failed someone, the Lord cut in and told me to stop repenting. ‘Stop repenting, Lord? But surely repentance is the key to going deeper with You?’

‘It is, but there is a fine line between repentance and remorse – and you are in danger of stepping over it. Don’t you believe 1 John 1:9? If you keep on asking for forgiveness, instead of receiving it, all you are doing is expressing your unbelief. That just does the devil’s work for him.

By the way, it is all but impossible to resent people you are praying for!’

For Reflection and Prayer

Remorse does nothing to lift our spirits, let alone to bless anyone else.
In the example I quoted above, the Lord went on to say,
‘Step out and bless the people you feel you have failed.’
Does that ring bells for you? Go ahead and try it!


10 Isaiah 30:21

Previous Chapter – Sharing the Lord’s Heart

Next Chapter – When Visions Fade from View