THE UPSIDE-DOWNNESS OF PRAYER
BY: NORMAN P. GRUBB
“…prayer is an indication that God is stirring within us concerning some special need. This is why the solution to [so-called] dryness in one’s prayer life is not to “try” to pray more, but to give up praying. In place of the prayer of self-effort, relax back into the recognition of the Indwelling Person who lives within you. See Him, flow along with Him in thankfulness, praise, and love, for these also are the movings of His Spirit in us – in literal fact, God praising God, God loving God.
As we do this, we shall soon find that He is sharing His outlook and concern with us, looking through our eyes; and we shall be feeling His concern for various needs… This is the Source of prayer – the Spirit making intercession because we don’t know what or how to pray for as we ought. This is “praying in the Holy Spirit.”
But this response leads to something else of great importance. For if God shares a burden or need with us which is on His heart, does He not already intend to fulfill it? More than that, has He not already fulfilled it in His sight, where past and future are one? The best evidence that He has already fulfilled our need is the statement that before there ever was sin and need, there was already the provision of the Savior. (I Peter 1:29) That is God’s upside-downness to our material sight – the supply provided before the need!
Paul says that Adam was “the figure of Him that was to come” (Rom. 5:14). How can a fallen Adam be a type, pointing to a redeeming Adam? Because God is forever the positive that swallows up the negative, just as mortality is swallowed up in Life. Wherever there is a negative on earth – a have not, a need, a weakness, an unsolved problem, a sickness – His unchangeable character of perfect love necessitates His provision of the supply, strength, solution, health. Love is always a debtor. (Rom. 1:14) It must move in and pay its debts of self-giving service. Because God is love, the full supply is never in doubt. “Before they call, I will answer,” was God’s word to Isaiah. His word is just the same today.
Why, then, do we have these problems and needs at all? Because human redemption is mediated through human agency – first through God’s Son, and now through His sons. So God puts us in tight spots to channel His creative faith through us. Our calling upon God in prayer is merely the evidence that He has stirred us into action. The answer is already there with Him – before we call. Now as our calling moves on to the act of faith, God has His human agent in gear through whom He can channel the answer. It is never our need or problem or weakness, anymore than it is our supply or solution. Both are His. We are merely the human agents through whom the supply can reach the need.
One more point – what about unanswered prayer? The whole point is this: whose prayer is it… the supplication of the Spirit through us, or our own? Let us boldly say that it is His supplication, for the revelation of union through grace is what He thinks, what He wills, and what He sees through us in our normal daily lives. Well, then, when we pray, why not say, “Lord, I am boldly interpreting this need as an evidence that you have the supply already on the way. I believe it. I receive it. Thank you.” If the supply doesn’t come as we expect, whose business is it? Obviously His. Leave Him to mind His own business. If God wishes to appear a failure to the natural eye, let Him do so! He did at Calvary. Don’t take back as your concern what you previously committed to Him. Don’t accept from the Accuser blame for apparent failure or apparent unbelief.
A Lot of us get tangled up and condemned at this point. Don’t take back a great heavy burden as if the final answer depended on how much of it you carried. Leave your burdens with God. Give the praise that really counts with Him – not that which comes from the visible answer, but that which is based on naked faith. “Blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed.” “These all died in faith, not having received the promise.” But they received enough by the faith which has the witness in itself to endure as seeing Him Who is invisible… We, too, can have this experience – today.
UPSIDE-DOWNNESS OF PRAYER, THE [Norman P. Grubb] 1