Coca-Cola and Prayer: This Year’s FCA Devotional

2 11 2011

Every year, our church hosts a breakfast for the local FCA club.  And, for the second year in a row, I got to give the devotional.  I thought I’d share it here…enjoy!

Have you ever wondered if we have a tendency to treat God like a vending machine?  We come to him with quarters in hand, and we expect something very specific in return.

My drink of choice is either Coke Zero or Mountain Dew, depending on whether it’s a Coke machine or a Pepsi machine.  But sometimes when I go to the vending machine and put in my money, it flashes back the message, “Out of stock.”  And I have to decide whether I’m thirsty enough settle for a Sprite, or if I’m just going to ask for my money back.  Or even worse, I ask for Coke Zero and I get a Grape Fanta instead.  No offense to you Grape Fanta fans, but that’s disappointing!  And by then, I’m usually out of money, and I can’t even try again.

Of course, we do this with God, too.   Only, we’re not generally asking him for Mountain Dew…usually we’re asking for healing, or for guidance, or maybe to make a good grade on a test.  And when God doesn’t deliver exactly how we expect…when our prayers aren’t answered exactly the way we would like…we are disappointed.  We feel like the machine has failed us.

But God’s not a vending machine. He’s our Father in heaven, and he loves us deeply.  He wants us to have the best.  In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus asks, “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will you give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about how much we limit God by the way we pray.  Like before a meal, when we bless our food, we get into a rut of praying the same way every time, and it becomes routine. So much so that we forget God is actually listening.  Or when someone’s sick, we’re scared to ask God for what we really want, and so we pray for small things, manageable prayers, like that the doctors will do their job well, or that we would be comforted.  And don’t get me wrong, those are great things to pray for, and God does work in those ways.  But sometimes when we pray small, we never have to leave room for God to really work.
But how much more will our Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!  Maybe instead of the Coke we’re asking for, we’ll get a bouquet of flowers, or a 6-foot sub, instead.  Sometimes God’s blessings are immediately apparent, and we know right away that He has surpassed our wildest expectations.  But sometimes, we have to wait, and we think that our prayers have been ignored, or that God doesn’t care.  But if we could see the bigger picture, we would know that God is working in the midst of all circumstances, in the midst of every detail in our lives, and working it into something good, for his glory.

So today I challenge you guys to pray boldly, and to really leave room for God to work however He sees fit.  It’s a scary prayer, because it means we no longer are in control…but then again, we never were to begin with.



2 responses

3 11 2011

I love the scripture that you quoted from Matthew 7—If we wouldn’t purposefully answer someone’s needs with something harmful, then why in the world would God, the perfect loving one do that? I believe that even in the midst of the bad things that happen, God is at work–always working to bring about His good, if we are willing to listen & allow Him to direct us.

10 09 2013

It’s difficult to find knowledgeable people for this topic, but you
seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

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