The Elephant in Our Prayer Rooms

I have planned my life. I know exactly the things I want to accomplish. I never realized the implications of this until I started being more consistent in prayer. There was a distance I didn’t feel before. I know the battle of wills is what prayer is about, but this was new, well new requests anyway. Things were getting a little serious in my life. And I know I shared about sometimes the fire doesn’t go out but refines instead- this one needed extinguishing immediately. I literally commanded God on what I wanted to see happen and when the lingering thought appeared, “What if this isn’t what God wants?” I would cry and end the session, God wouldn’t let me down, would He?

It took a few sermons, writers and musicians for me to understand. I was holding on to my dreams. I didn’t want God to take them from me or worst replace with ones I hated. Honestly, I would have been fine if He just answered my prayers the way I wanted, and I did my due diligence in serving Him, something resembling a business contract. But He’s the kind of God who won’t stay in a corner. I wanted rulership of my life. Remind you of anyone else? Yes love, Sister Eve. The Fall reflects the greatest temptation for man, the desire to rule our destinies, to become like gods.

But if one neglects his closet, then all evil comes of it.

Charles Spurgeon

There’s another being who wanted to rule his destiny too, Satan. It’s interesting how he used the very things God gave him to put himself up on a pedestal. Are we using the very intellect, abilities, beauty and connections God gave us to set up our little throne? Lest you think I am being dramatic, consider this. I want my life to go the way I want it. First, it’s not my life. Second, it’s already planned. But I want to change that. I want things in this life to serve me, instead of using them to serve God. I have become the object of worship; I am ultimately saying; I am in charge around here and things are going to go my way, no exceptions. Satan ended up getting kicked out of heaven. Imagine my predicament. But before you conclude God is a tyrant and takes ‘small‘ things too seriously, we need to keep His character and the Cross in view.

The little leaven breeding all of this took a while to pop up- the pride of my accomplishments. In the back of my head, I wanted people to say, “Wow, this girl is making progress, look at her family and she’s doing really well in her career.” To put it a little different, “I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. (Is. 14:14 NLT)” Devilish if you ask me, because when people would see future me, my intention would not be for them to see Christ. I wanted them to see me.

So this is the elephant in my prayer room, perhaps yours too, autonomy or self-governance birthed of pride. Creatures playing dress up god. Prayer is an afterthought because we’re already leading the way. May this be a reminder it is not in man to direct his own steps (Jer. 10:23 KJV). We also make little time for it because of its humbling effect. The very act of praying declares our insufficiencies. Prayer brings us to a posture where we see ourselves as below and Him, above. Our prayer life reveals to us our understanding of God, ourselves and decisions. The one that gets first place gets the most attention.

Without a doubt, we can test our hot or coldness based on the temperature of our prayer life. When we pray, if we doubt if He can make us happy; we are too far away from Him. If we think He’s incapable of leading our lives, then we worship a God we know not.

Above all else, whilst I have made prayer about me, essentially it isn’t. It’s about the wisest, most powerful, most loving, most beautiful creator deciding to commune with me. His representation on earth. Though, I may not always walk worthy of this calling, His love and mercy persuades me to come closer for greater transformation. Really, what could be more worthwhile than that?

I am grateful, even if struggling. Prayer is doing what God instituted it for, to reveal my heart and bring it into alignment with His. It is positioning me as a child, relating to her father. So you know what I am going to do the next time I pray? I am going to be a Jacob, except daily I am going to loosen my grip so God can carry me to where He wants to. And even if months from now, I am living in unchanged circumstances, I will stay in His presence, bringing all my grief and wishes. Until I can join A. W. Tozer in proclamation.

“Sometimes I go to God and say, “God, if Thou dost never answer another prayer while I live on this earth, I will still worship Thee as long as I live and in the ages to come for what Thou hast done already. God’s already put me so far in debt that if I were to live one million millenniums I couldn’t pay Him for what He’s done for me.” 

― A.W. Tozer

Then I would have understood the cost and privileges of being a part of this great salvation. Remember, you are precious.

Recording: Abigail Barrett

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