submission vs. wishful asking

You know, I realized something today as I was taking a little hike and doing some praying.

I was praying “God, if this is your will then just orchestrate the details.”

And I just felt Him responding, “If it is My will, why would I not be orchestrating the details? If it is My will, it is bound to happen, so stop worrying about how or why or when or what.”

Duh. I know in my head that if something is God’s will then it will happen at some point, in some way.

What I realized was that often when I pray “if it’s your will, let it work out” is that really what I am saying is “I really want this, and I want it to be your will, so figure out how to make this happen. Please?”

I think, when we are given the example, “yet not my will but yours be done” in (Luke 22:42), the Will is already known it’s just the heart and mind that is not 100% in agreement. But the plan is made clear. When we are praying in this way I think we are giving up control – your will be done, not mine. But, in the way I was praying, it was more like going to God as a wish-granter, which I try so hard to avoid.

So, if the thing I am praying for is God’s Will then I don’t need to worry about the details. And if it is not God’s will, then again, I don’t have to worry about the details. I can just pray “Your Will be done in this situation,” and leave it at that.

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I’ve Stopped Praying for Self-Control.

For almost 10 years now I have battled with the same sins, the same struggles, the same issues in my life. They rise from insecurities, from doubts, from fear.

Big or small, there are seasons where these struggles seem less and I am able to walk peacefully throughout life without much battle. Then there are times where I feel like I’m on a kid’s floaty raft in the middle of the raging Pacific ocean.

So, for these 10 years off struggling, I’ve been praying for God to give me self-control.

Today, I decided to stop praying for self-control.

Notice how the phrase starts with the word “self.” I was asking God to help me do something on my own. I thought by praying I was asking for God’s help and hoping he would then be a part of it, so I was relying on him.  But, when I started praying for self-control again recently, I was deeply convicted about what I was praying for.

I am not saying self-control is a bad thing.  It is a fruit of the Spirit! I teach my clients about self-control all the time. We need it, and I believe God does help us with self-control. But, I believe what he first wants is for us to give something over to him and to rely on HIS STRENGTH to get us through and move us on. In his time, by his ways, and then build within us the control to rely on him and the strengths he has built within us through the process.

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Are there areas you struggle with on a consistent basis? Have you given them to God and learned to call on him first when the battle rages? Start there, let him show you his power and build the strengths you need to fight.

Keep knocking.

Have you heard the parable in the Bible about bread and the neighbor?

Let me refresh your mind. In Luke 11 first we are taught how to pray. The Lord’s prayer is given to us as an example of the way we should pray. We are to ask our Heavenly Father to work his will in our life, to ask for him to provide for our daily needs, to forgive our sins, to teach us to treat others with forgiveness and grace, and to keep us from falling into temptation. This is the basic outline for all prayers. Of course we can stray from these guidelines, but it’s a straight-forward way to speak to our Father in Heaven.

But then… Oh then Jesus hits us with a parable that blows my mind.

In verses 5-8 he says, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, or a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him;’ and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.”

Because of his constant nagging, asking, and petitioning his friend he will be given what he needs.

And then Jesus reveals the truth and lesson behind the parable, “And I tell you, ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be open.” (Luke 5:9-10, ESV).

Ok… so, let me get this straight: I have to ask, and beg, and plead, and essentially annoy the crap out of God and He will give me what I want?

Sort of.

He will answer your prayer. It might not be what you want, but He will answer the prayer.

Friends – do not give up! Keep knocking! Keep seeking! Keep asking!

If you read my post about being smacked in the face by God, you know I stopped asking, knocking and seeking. I gave up because I didn’t see results right away like I wanted, and because I let life take over.

Do not give up! Keep persevering!

Smacked in the face [By God]

Today, I entered my car after work and saw a book I began in September 2013 but have never finished. It’s a book about prayer. When I picked it up those months ago I was desperate to find direction for a particular situation in my life. I began reading it that weekend and knew what I was supposed to do – I needed to pray. Not just here and there – no God was asking me to petition before him the situation, to pray without ceasing, to be a prayer warrior on behalf of the situation and another person who desperately needed to know King Jesus.

And boy did I pray. I didn’t stop.

But then life got in the way. I prayed when I thought about it, but I did not make it a priority. As I slowly stopped praying for the situation, it slowly started falling apart. And now here I sit with having completely falling apart and my hard in a confused mess questioning what in the heck happened over the past few months.

But when I stepped in my car today, God smacked me in the face and I burst into tears as I realized the depths of my disobedience. He reminded of me of His request and showed me how I had failed to even come close to attempting to complete the task he gave me.

Oh, how often do things fall apart in our lives because of the disobedience we develop by simply getting too busy with our own priorities?

I’d like to think that maybe the situation would be different today had I been obedient. Then again, I like to think that my disobedience had nothing to do with the way things worked out. But frankly, I have no idea. All I can do is pray for redemption for the situation – whatever that may look like – and forgiveness for myself. And then pray, pray, fast, and pray for the situation today. Who knows what that means for the outcome of the situation – it seems to have already been decided.

But I serve a God who loves to redeem. He is the God of redemption, and I trust that His will prevails in all situations.

So here’s to obedience and God and I moving mountains.

– Kara