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Seeds of the Kingdom

The ‘Wave’ Prayer

by Andy Taylor

22 September 2011

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But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Matthew 14:30, NLT

It’s probably fair to say that our prayer life goes up a notch when we find ourselves in difficult situations. It’s a desperate problem with the human heart that when all is well we tend to forget about God but when things are tough we quickly turn to Him and pray our hearts out.

The verse above is taken from the amazing passage where Jesus walks on the water. He then invites Peter to join him and, incredibly, he walks on the water too. As Peter ventures towards the Lord, however, it’s as if he suddenly has a reality check and is reminded of the natural environment that he is in and the impossibility of the situation. He sees the huge waves coming towards him and begins to panic. This panic didn’t help him at all! It actually caused him to sink into the water and bring about the very thing he was afraid of. It was at that moment that he called out to Jesus, “Save me, Lord!”

This is a ‘wave’ prayer! A prayer that is birthed in fear and panic. A prayer that can’t see a good outcome from a difficult situation. Amazingly, even though this was the kind of prayer uttered by Peter, Jesus still saved him and pulled him out of the water.
Having done this, Jesus responds in an interesting way. Had we just walked on water – even for a moment – it would have been nice to hear Jesus say what a great job we had done and how much more faith we had than all those other disciples who were still in the boat looking on with wide eyes! Instead Jesus confronts Peter with the words, “You have so little faith, why did you doubt me?”

In this statement, Jesus is hitting the nail on the head. He wasn’t criticizing Peter or putting him down, He was simply challenging his faith and trust in the Lord – something which is an evidence of a close intimate relationship. The truth is, had Peter kept his faith in Jesus, he could have walked all the way to shore with Him and would have been oblivious to the size of the waves or the sound of the wind. It all would have meant nothing to him. During his evening stroll on the water with his Lord he would have experienced the amazing peace that comes from a heart that is trusting in the character and nature of God to be faithful in all circumstances. His ‘wave’ prayer would not have been necessary because of the insignificance of the waves compared to the loving kindness of the Lord.

It’s worth considering how much our prayer life is made up of ‘wave’ prayers. Prayers of desperation that are born in fear and lack of trust. Today, the Lord is challenging us too, “You have so little faith, why are you doubting me?” Whatever waves are facing you today, no matter how big they are or how ferocious they appear, God is beckoning you to rest in Him and to trust that He is able in ALL circumstances.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I know the frailty of my own heart and how often I doubt You during the hard times. Please help me today to take my eyes off the waves and to fix them on You – my refuge, my fortress, my place of safety, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Andy Taylor is Director of Ellel Grange, UK National Director and is a member of the Executive Leadership of Ellel Ministries. He joined the team in 1991 and has served the Lord at Ellel Ministries centres in the UK, Australia and the USA. Andy is married to Cath and they have three boys.

 

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