To be continued…
So, last week I posted about my ‘prayer problems’. You can read the original post here for the background. To summarize, I was challenged by my terrible prayer life and decided to use my long commute to really focus on prayer. I specifically asked for two things throughout the week: a job for Brent and then an ‘unspoken’ that I can’t write about on the blog. So I did it. I prayed daily, crying out to the Lord, asking Him to come through for us. And guess what?
By Wednesday, I was discouraged. I was heading to a meeting and I found myself feeling extremely sad. What was going on? Why hadn’t anything happened? I didn’t want to give up on God, and to lose faith that He would come through for us, but it was discouraging. I had hoped that this week would be ‘the week’ that God swept through and ‘fixed’ everything for us.
I finished off my week focusing on prayer with church this morning and evening. I was listening to Louie talk about the last night of Jesus’ life and the events that occurred after he prayed to the Lord before his arrest and death. Louie re-caped the chapter before and said something that hit me like a ton of bricks. He reminded us that Jesus prayed to His Father: ‘Not my will, but your will be done’.
Whoa. Jesus, the creator of the universe, turned over his desires and plans to God, his Father, and surrendered his will.
Jesus, who commands the Angels, and is seated at the right hand of God, gave up his will. He begged God to take the cup from him, but he surrendered his desires. Jesus took on our sin, our shame. All the intense pain I have ever experienced, every nasty word I have said about someone else- He took it. All the murders, lies, cheating and scandals that caused pain- Jesus took it all on. And He did it without complaining. Louie went on to say that praying for something “if it’s God’s will” is not a cop out. I think that was a hang up of mine, that maybe my faith wasn’t strong enough if I was always leaning on God’s will. But if Jesus said it, it certainly can’t be a cop out. He is God, after all.
|Jesus painted this sunset, but humbled himself to die for our sins.|
I was immediately humbled as the reality of those words sank in. I had devoted my week to being in God’s presence as much as possible. I prayed a lot, I focused on God a lot. But even though in my prayers I half heartedly said “Your will God, of course”, I don’t think I really meant it. And because I was so fixated on asking God for specific things, I didn’t notice the little ways God provided and answered prayer. Throughout this past week, my conversations about Jesus quadrupled over previous weeks. God extended me a ‘deadline’ of sorts on something that I was dreading. And Brent got several job leads.
So my prayer week is evolving into a prayer journey. My prayer focus is “to be continued” as this week, I’m praying some more, every morning on my way to work, and the theme is “Your will, not mine”. I have so little faith, so I think I need to repeat to God constantly that I want His will. Hopefully the consistency will allow me to better live it out.
Most of you reading this probably don’t struggle with faith and prayer like I do. But maybe you do, and I hope I can encourage you. You are not alone, you are never alone. God is listening to us, even when we can’t feel it. He loves us so much that He died a horrific and humiliating death for our sins. And He just wants us to trust Him and walk with Him. Nothing you can say is too much for God. He already knows what you’re feeling, so just tell Him. Even if there are tears or anger, just tell Him. He knows, and He cares. Its way easier said than done, but I’m going to do my best to live out the grace I don’t deserve, one prayer and one action at a time.