In the Greek the word is pronoia (pron-oy-ah) and it’s odd that in the New Testament (KJV) that in only place is it translated as providence, and in that instance it is used in reference to man:
Acts 24:2-3 And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence, 3 We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.
The NIV translates the same word in that verse as “foresight.” Let’s look at one more instance.
Job 10:12 Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. KJV
In the Hebrew, providence is the word pequddah (pek-ood-daw) and it means account, custody, oversight, or visitation. In this verse in the KJV it is translated “visitation.” However, the NIV translates it as providence.
So what’s my point? Providence/visitation/oversight should be the focal point of our prayers. All of God’s answers to our prayer are His intervention in our life, they are His
If we as Christians believe that we are the children of God and the bride of Christ, then we have to ask ourselves if we believe that His providence is involved in every part of our life. Is God overseeing and sustaining every part of our life? If so, then why do we fail to pray over “everything” in our life?
I think the answer lies partly in the fact that we so often try to presume to interpret God’s dealings with us rather than trusting and having faith that He is in control. We forget that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isa 55:9) and that the only way we can put His thoughts into action in our earthly circumstances is through prayer. And that means in all circumstances, and it’s in those circumstances of daily life that God’s providence shines the brightest in response to our prayers for food, clothing, business, health, emergencies, etc. I think these are the areas in which God most desires to show us His providence, and yet it is in these areas that our prayers are often the weakest, with the littlest faith. And I think that is because we fail to understand that the providence of God has no limitations.
We tend to take one of two positions in our prayer life. Either we trust God implicitly for for our “daily needs” or we “wish and hope” for His provision. If we stand on His Word then, as we have been studying the past few weeks, the only option for us is to trust implicitly in His providence.
A great hymn by Josiah Conde…
Day by day the manna fell,
O to learn this lesson well!
Still by constant mercy fed,
Give me, Lord, my daily bread.
Day by day the promise reads,
Daily strength for daily needs;
Cast foreboding fears away,
Take the manna of today.
This is the message of Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount… take no thought what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on (Matt 6: 25-31).
God’s Providence, what an incredible promise and blessing for the bride of Christ. And all it takes to partake of His providence is to exercise the very thing Jesus told us we needed to use… “childlike faith.” And the most important place to exercise that faith is in our prayers that look to our daily needs. Every need we have needs to be the subject of our prayers because everything we lift up to God is in His providence and takes place under His oversight. Nothing happens without God’s permission, and therefore unless we allow Him to be in complete control of our daily life we will find ourselves constantly struggling against His providence.
Think back to Jeremiah at the Potter’s house. The verse that puts this idea of providence in perspective for me is:
Jer 18:6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
It is the providence of God that He works every event in our life for our good (Rom 8:28). He works everything into His “perfect” plan for our life, the plan He laid down before we were even in our mother’s womb. Our life is overseen by the One who knows the number of hairs on our head (Matt 10:30). So why do we fail to walk in His perfect plan?
For me the answer is found in my prayer life. Am I approaching God with the childlike faith that trusts in Him for my every need? Are my prayers focused on His providence, on His divine guidance and care? Do I believe His Word, His promises?
In each event of life how clear,
Thy ruling hand I see;
Each blessing to my soul most dear.
Because conferred by thee.
Helen Maria Williams
Providence… everything that comes into our life takes place under God’s supervising hand. We need to tightly hold that reality in our prayers if we expect to see God’s providing hand in our life… moment by moment.
Every aspect of our life is, every area of God’s providence is directly related to our prayer life. We need to look in the mirror and ask the question… How’s your prayer life?