Katy McKenna Raymond  
Personal blog of christian writer Katy McKenna Raymond in Kansas City, Missouri

Personal blog of christian
writer & fallible mom
Katy McKenna Raymond
in Kansas City, Missouri

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Greg Johnson at
WordServe Literary

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Empty Hands

“God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full—there’s nowhere for Him to put it.”
St. Augustine

“So why should we bother to pray at all?” a man in our Sunday school asked. “If God only answers prayers that are prayed according to His will, and we don’t know His will, what’s the point? Isn’t He just going to do what He’s already decided, whether we pray or not?”

If you’re ever in the mood to squirm, come be our guest at Sunday school. Included in our number are two guys with doctorate degrees, an architect, several business owners, a couple of realtors, a high school math teacher, and more than one devil’s advocate.

“The point is that prayer is relationship,” said one middle-aged mom. “We don’t always know God’s will in a situation. But we pray anyway. And He shows us His ways through our relationship with Him.”

“But if we don’t know His will, what good does it do to pray?”

“But if we don’t get to know Him by praying, what good would it be to know His will?”

I couldn’t help but think about King David, who couldn’t help but pray for God to spare the life of his son, even though God had already revealed through the prophet Nathan that the boy would die.

Every time I read this story (found in 2 Samuel 12), I’m amazed by David’s guts. Here he’d just completed an elaborately planned scheme to have a soldier killed in battle so that he could claim the man’s beautiful widow as his own wife. Bathsheba—whose former residence included a bathtub on the roof, you’ll remember—moved into the king’s palace, married him, and bore him a son.

God wasn’t thrilled with this turn of events. Through the prophet Nathan, He let David have it. “Look at everything I’ve given you! Everything you’ve asked for and more! But then you had to take what belonged to another?”

David’s hands were full, all right—not only with the legitimate blessings God had given him, but also with his new wife Bathsheba, their young son who lay at death’s door, and the blood of an innocent man. How dare he turn to God in prayer?

And yet, he prayed. Until he heard from his servants that his son had finally died, he didn’t cease imploring God to spare the child. But if Nathan had already declared that the boy would die, why did David bother to pray?

“Prayer is relationship,” the woman in Sunday school said. “Even if He doesn’t answer the way we’d like Him to, prayer is how we get to know God better.”

By the time David finished praying, I’m thinking his hands were empty of everything but the one thing God still wanted to give him: A clean heart.

Posted by Katy on 04/04/05 at 09:11 AM
Fallible Comments...
  1. Wow...nice entry...my friend just talked to me about this part of David's life last night. I think in some ways by staying in prayer (a close relationship with God), David slowly gained the peace & strength to accept God's will. Maybe that's how David was able to recover, stop the mourning and move on with life so quickly after the loss of his child.

    A clean heart!!! I truly wonder what it feels like to have a clean heart! Must be nice :)
    Posted by jane  on  04/04/05  at  11:45 PM
  2. I pray everyday.
    I prayed for something selfish and God said no. I pouted and stamped my feet.

    Through prayer I learned to see things from his point of view and I gave up my pain to him. As i shared my pain I let go of my selfish desire and thought of others. He then in his amazing grace turned and gave it to me anyways.

    Take Care
    Posted by Blogin Idiot  on  04/05/05  at  02:07 AM
  3. Thank you for that.
    Posted by Maria  on  04/05/05  at  02:25 AM
  4. What a terrific post! (Funny, as I wrote about "Thy will be done" last week myself.) I love how you related it to David, though.

    It's a tough situation, I guess; do we pray for what we want? Do we just pray "Your will be done"? Or both? Or wait until He tells us? But again, David still pleaded for the life of his son, even after...well, being a stinker, shall we say? I think God would just rather we be honest with Him - He knows our hearts anyhow.

    Wonderful post.
    Posted by Miss O'Hara  on  04/08/05  at  04:39 PM
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