"Whatever you want for me God is what I want."
I have come to see that very little of what I pray for comes out of my great and holy desire to better God’s kingdom, but rather to confirm my own convalescent plans. I shed sweat and tears over making things right and perfect in my world and I get no more in return than an anxious heart and a weakened mind.
I’ve been forced to ask myself — what would my prayer life look like if I prayed only for that which would benefit the kingdom? For as it stands now, I want his riches and his glory without having to change my story. I want to be blessed without having to clean up the mess. I want to be made wise, not being still, but by forcing my own will. I say things like, ” I want this God, but only if it is your will.” Yet, I ask with fingers crossed behind my back. What I’m really thinking is, ” God, I hope I can convince you why you want the same things I do. We both know how much happier I will be if I get what I want, Lord.”
I can be the master of manipulation sometimes. As a woman, it’s a polished skill. While it may work on the people in my life, God is not at all impressed by it. What is scary to think about, is that my prayer time with God is never meant to be a time of manipulation or selfish requests. I want nothing more than to do the will of my Father and to make him proud of me. It’s that dang deceitful heart that keeps getting in the way. Even when I think I am in the Spirit, I find I am sometimes in the flesh.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Deceit is a bitch.
Cute and Innocent deceitful bitch
Selfish & Proud deceitful bitch
There is the cute and cuddly me I think I am when I am praying, and there is selfish and proud me I can sometimes really be. I know I’m not alone in this. Much of following Jesus is about allowing the work of the Spirit to remove our own need to be the vine and replace it with a pure and joyful desire to be the branch. Even Paul in Romans admitted he struggled with the nature of the flesh.
Romans 7:19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
Amen, Paul! This verse could very well be the summary of my entire waltz with God. What struck me recently, is that I have ascribed this verse to concern specific areas in my life that already seem pretty “fleshy” to me. For instance, I often think of this verse when I go for that third margarita, or take a drag off a friends cigarette, or put my husband down in the middle of a disagreement, or buy a pair of totally amazing shoes on a credit card I am trying to pay off. I have never put this verse in context with my prayer life. Oh, but the wool was pulled heavily over my eyes on that one!
Ephesians 5:15 “Be very careful then how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
The clear message here to me is — foolish is the opposite of Gods will. So, any prayer that doesn’t consist of a complete release of my will and total embracing of God’s will is a prayer with some foolishness sprinkled in. In order to be wise, I must allow God to answer my prayers in his perfect ways, not try to manipulate my own lame ideas into the outcome.
The other thing to note here is that “the days are evil.” It doesn’t say, ” the mornings are evil,” or, “that coffee break is gonna be evil,” or even, “that phone conversation with so and so will turn out evil.” No — it says the DAYS are evil. That is 24 hours, seven days a week where evil is on patrol looking to harass and destroy.
The devil in, "Legend" was so scary-- Satan is a million times worse!
The devil can get us anywhere. It’s easier to think its only when we are doing the, “obvious” evils that he is attacking. It’s a much harder concept to trust that he is at work in the areas where we only wish to do good. The Bible tells us over and over again that Satan is a crazy, calamitous, contaminating, corrupter. That devil will catch us every which way he can. Nothing is sacred to him, not a single hour in our day is free from his ruinous attacks — not even our prayer time!
Ephesians 6:10 Be strong in the Lord. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:13 Therefore, put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground.
Ephesians 6:17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert…”
Perhaps it is a lesson I will have to learn over and over again, but I hope not. I want to keep my prayers to the Lord pure and my desires in accordance with his will. Whenever manipulation and self- gain rear their ugly heads, I want to shout ” Out, damn’d spot! Out, I say!
Lord, you have given me all of your spiritual blessings through Christ. Help me to be strong in you. Keep my prayers away from selfish desires, instead focusing them on your perfect authority. Remind me, Lord, that I am never far from the devil’s attacks but always protected by your mighty hand. For through your love and by your Spirit, I have been given the authority to crush every evil thing under my feet. You are a loving and merciful God and I praise you for choosing me as one of your children. Amen.