I hate the Rubik’s Cube.
When the Rubik’s Cube craze hit in 1980, I bought one. I was so cool; I got all the colors the same—on one side. Oh, great. There are five other sides. I got my clueless fingers on one of those how-to-solve booklets, and very methodically—very slowly—I manipulated that stupid cube. Once it was back in its original state, I boxed it away.
And there it stayed for 20 years. When my youngest son was in middle school, he found my Rubik’s Cube, mixed it up, and proceeded to solve it. Whose kid is this? His adolescent approach to annoying a parent was to ask me to mix it up. In five minutes, he would be back with that stupid cube looking correct.
I was tempted to ground my son for being smarter than his dad, but instead I just muttered under my breath, “I hate the Rubik’s Cube.”
Around the same time, I was doing some reading on how our brains work. Howard Garner’s work in multiple intelligences shows that, while some of us are verbal, visual, musical, and so forth, some of us are also logical. We can analyze things and see where we need to go 4-5 steps before we ever get there.
- A chess player does this when he knows he will have me in checkmate in the next six moves.
- My son does this by knowing what he will do with the stupid Rubik’s cube half a dozen moves in advance.
It’s seeing the end before we ever get there.
My brain does not work that way—but my prayer life can.
2. I can trust God to respond. I can trust that He will answer according to His love and will (1 John 5:14-15).
3. My prayer morphs into a prayer of joy, thanking Him for His answer before I ever see it.
Faith is trusting Him and seeing the end before we ever get there.
Let me encourage you to add a new angle to your prayers. A couple of months ago, we were in the thick of turkey, dressing, Aunt Martha’s green jello salad thingy, and thanking God for all He did in 2016. So before we really get deep in 2017, develop the habit of thanking Him for what He is going to do. Your requests will take on an element of joy as you thank Him in advance for His work and His answers.
In fact, make this a part of your joy-filled, forward-looking prayer:
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:9-11).
Praying with joy. Not a bad way to kick off 2017.
This post supports the study “Praying with Joy” in Bible Studies for Life.