Earlier this week this quote landed in front of me:
"'I have reserved me seven thousand.' I love the worshippers unknown to the world and to the very prophets."... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensees (Thoughts) 
I paused. Two different things went through my mind. First of all, I was reminded of that powerful story in 1 King 19 to which Pascal is referring. After triumphantly confronting the 450 false prophets in chapter 18, Elijah turns tail and runs in terror from the threats of Queen Jezebel. It makes a rollicking good story.
The description of his encounter with God in the cave as he quivers in fear, whining away, is remarkable -- utterly lyrical.
But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”He replied again, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”Then the Lord told him, “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. Then anoint Jehu son of Nimshi to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet. Anyone who escapes from Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu will be killed by Elisha! Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!” (1Kings 19:10-18)
I have read this story several times. My bible is replete with underlines and highlights here. But somehow I managed to miss that a poignant question is not asked once, but twice:
What are you doing here, Elijah?
How often do I get in really hard circumstances, and my first, second and even third response is to play the victim card? Looking at Elijah's pathetic arguments, I see how sometimes I too show up to pray before God -- but I am not really asking for help. If I was, I would shut up and listen. Instead, I rattle off the ways I have been wronged and try to justify my case.
Elijah is righteously indignant, and believes himself to be the only one who has really stood up for God. God reminds him that there is far more to the story than what Elijah can see.
Which takes me to the second thing I thought of when I read this quote. Earlier this week I was at a conference with over 100 other Free Methodist pastors and leaders from Southern California. While I know many of them, I didn't know the majority of them. Eight different languages are preached among the churches represented in this group. I was reminded yet again that the kingdom of God is full of workers and churches and activity that I will never know about. The majority of God's people labor in complete anonymity, faithfully serving their neighborhood and families.
But God knows them. He sees it all. So when I show up in prayer, I need to remember that simple question:
What are you doing here, Kelly?
Do I want to find out what plans God has, or do I just want to continue asking him to rubber stamp my efforts? Do I want to participate in his kingdom, or just be the Master of My Own Agenda?
Lord, thank you for your grace. You are patient and so kind. Thank you that you persist in speaking through the sounds of the gentle whisper, regardless of how little I pay attention, rather than yelling at me. Open my eyes that I may see the larger, greater things that you are doing.