Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Week Forty-Six - Chasing Your Problems Around

My friend, Charlotte, shared a devotion on prayer with me, and I want to share a portion with you. It has some amazing thoughts! The devotion is from The Gift of Self by Heather Ward.

She writes, "Prayer is primarily something God does in me, it is allowing God to flow through me. My part is to make myself available for this, to become consciously with, and in, the God who is always with and in, me. Consequently, however much I may feel myself to be the initiator I am, in fact, always responding to a pressure, a hint, an invitation from him. 

Her wording might seem a bit heavy, but I hope you saw some of the thoughts I noticed. I was caught by her idea that we are not the initiators of prayer; God is. Our desire or motivation to pray is a calling of God, a wooing of the Spirit, and an invitation for heavenly fellowship. Isn't that beautiful?

Our ego may desire us to be on equal terms with the Lord, determining the time and place for the meeting, but it is not so. The dethronement of ego begins with this recognition, and continues when we grasp its corollary, that prayer is to make us available to God and not the other way round. 

This idea of the dethronement of ego captured my attention. Do I come to God trying to call Him into my life instead of making myself available to Him? Are my prayers egotistical? Am I bossing God around instead of humbly seeking His favor? Good questions.

Prayer easily becomes need-centred, consolation-centred, experience-centred: we pray for what God does for us, for the strength he gives us, for the satisfaction of feeling with him. 

These thoughts give us a way to evaluate our prayers. Are they extra heavy on the needy part, always looking for personal comfort, or looking for an emotional experience? Am I a taker? Or a giver coming with a heart of gratitude and praise?

All too often we feel that our prayer is totally for God because we have brought all our trouble to him, acknowledging our need, but then praying from within our distress becomes immersion in it. We do not leave our problems with him but continue to chase them round in his presence. Gradually attention has been diverted from God in himself towards our ego, with God as its helper."

And the last section made me laugh when she spoke of failing to leave our problems with the Lord and chasing them around in His presence. I have to hold my hand up in guilt there. I know there are times when my prayers are exactly like that. I chase my problems around looking for solutions while I tell God what I want to happen, what I fear, and what I think He should do. Thankfully, He still listens and speaks directly to my heart, even when my prayers aren't all they should be.

I hope these thoughts challenge you as much as they challenged me. Maybe next time we come to prayer we will come in recognition of His calling and lay ourselves before Him iinstead of chasing our problems around in His presence.

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