PRAYER PILLAR: PROBLEMS
Exodus 23:20 (NASB) “Behold, I am going to send an Angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.
My Bible version has a sub-title for verses 1 through 9 as, “Sundry Laws.” The next 4 verses talk about the Sabbath and the use of the land. Verses 14 through 19 talk about “Three National Feasts” and then our passage is the beginning of a section called “Conquest of the Land.”
For a minute let’s put aside all that we know about the difficulties the Israelites caused Moses. Look at the promise, right off the bat, for their (the Israelites) efforts. God says that he is sending His Angel, and we know from the context that this is God himself, before you, alongside you, guarding you, and making sure they arrive at the place where what? Where God has prepared for them!
I don’t know where this idea for “traveling mercies” ever came from. Perhaps it came from this verse, I don’t know. But if it did, I believe that “praying for traveling mercies” does an injustice to this verse. Let me jump to the chase, when we pray for “traveling mercies” we are not praying about the place that is prepared for us (did you hear that, P-R-E-P-A-R-E-D for us). No, when we pray for “traveling mercies” we are praying for safety!
Let me challenge your prayer paradigm here a bit, okay? I want to talk about, 1) acknowledging what God has already promised us and then 2) presuming upon God regarding what He has prepared for us. Some of you won’t like this, so let me apologize to you up front, okay?
Matthew 6:33 tells us that if we seek first Him and His kingdom, what our needs are, relative to what we shall eat and what we shall drink and what we shall wear, will be supplied to us. With that understanding look at the Lord’s prayer, the part that says, “…give us this day our daily bread…” The more I study these verses the more I realize Christ wasn’t saying, “You need to pray that I’ll give you your daily bread, or you may not get it!” I believe that He was saying, “Trust me, I will supply your daily bread.”
And then there’s the recognition and 1) not everyone goes to bed with a full stomach and that 2) not every airplane makes it across the ocean. Sometimes the final resting place of the plane, or your car, is not what you thought it was going to be. So how should we look at these issues? With the confidence of Psalm 103:19, that God’s throne is above the heavens and He is sovereign over all. What does that mean to you? I believe that it means that He has already decided how far in your trip you go. He has already decided how you will make it to your final destination. AND, when you get there, He has already prepared it! NOW THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!!!!
Questions for Reflection
- Do you pray for “traveling mercies” or know someone who does?
- What do they mean by it? Are they really just praying for protection? And if so, WHY???
- Why are we praying for protection when we know that God is already doing that for us? What part does “fear” play in this kind of a prayer?
- When, out of fear, we pray for protection, what are we missing?
- What kind of focus do you have on the main event if you are scared even of the trip itself?