Monday, August 27, 2007

Praying for God.

I've long thought it to be a cop-out. The idea of simply throwing your hands in the air and saying "Thy Will be done" rather than passionately crying out to God about something that you desire a specific answer to. It's like David fasting and praying for the life of his son. Even after he knew God had decreed the sons death. There was a chance to change Gods mind.
For your childs life, I'm sure most of you would take it that chance.


This Sunday, many of our church family happened to be out sick. And there just seemed to be something discouraging in the air. Almost (keep in mind I've said "almost") as though we should just all go home and try again some other time when everyone was better.
As prayers went up for all of the sick members I found myself unable to pray for them. I stumbled to a halt and wondered what I should be saying. And the very next thing I knew I was telling God that I needed Him. More than I need Him to be the God of my finances, or the God of my health, I needed Him just for the sake of Him.

Again, it felt like a cop-out. It's the idea that of course someone NOT sick would be able to say I don't need God to be the God of my health. Of course you can say that, you're not sick! But since I had begun thinking of Davids fasting for his sons life, I also remembered David pleading for his own life. Except he pleaded for a very different reason.

David instead said this:
I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication.
What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?
Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

I spent so much of yesterday pondering that idea. I'm all about motives. Why do you want to be healthy? Is it because you have a birthday party to attend this weekend and you don't want to be sick? Because you're suppose to meet with so-n-so tomorrow and you don't want a runny nose, hurting back, headache, etc. etc.?
How often do we pray that we'll be healthy for Gods sake? For the sake of Gods kingdom and Gods work?
Do we need money for Gods sake? or for the sake of our cable bill?

How much of our prayers are for our own benefit and not for Gods I wonder?

I spent Sunday praying for more of God. I told Him specifically I don't want more money, I don't want more health, I don't want more friends, I don't want more education. I want more God. Whatever else that all entails, bring it on. That's what I want. If that means I get more education, I'm blessed. If that means I encounter new friends, wonderful. If that means a few less aches and pains and colds, outstanding! But all those are secondary.

It seems a strange comment to make, but I'm tired of praying for myself. And I'm tired of praying for peoples health and money and jobs. I hope it's just a brief phase because it seems unkind to even think that, much less say it. But instead, I want to pray for God. I want to pray for more of Him. More of Him in me, more of Him in you, more of Him in our churches.
I want more.
And if that means healing takes place for all of our sick. God be praised.

Mercy flows down the river of praise. And for too many we've only got a small trickling stream. Somethings gotta give.


Sista Cala said...

"something's gotta give" that something is us. We have got to give God what is due to Him. We are often short on praise and long on petitions.

One Sided said...

I believe there is only so much of our spiritual focus that should be on ourselves.
While we all need to desire and work toward be better emulators of Christ, we should not develop tunnel vision, where that is all we see and all we desire. I believe we can get a sense of the division of his time. In the part of Jesus’ walk we are allowed a glimpse of the majority of his time was focused on the lifting up of others. In his alone time Jesus was even then focused mostly on us and then on the relationship of He and his Father.
It is my experience that my own growth has had it advances when I was focused on others and putting into action the teaching of Christ for their benefit. IN my quite time, prayer, study and contemplation I have moments of illumination giving clarity or direction to small points of growth. Small points are seem on their own insignificant, but like my piggy bank, at first easily moved from place to place around the room, it is now after many years heavy, weighted by the small contributions made over the years.

By the way I do have a large piggy bank that sits on the floor in my office, his name is Satisified.

SLW said...

The only danger I can see in not praying for yourself is falling into the error of believing, against the promises of God, that your situations, problems, illnesses, etc. are not important to God or are too trivial to bother him with. God is the one who has given us the invitation to ask whatever we will, and he wants us to take him up on it. Even the Lord's prayer has its fair share of self-concern in it. It is truly liberating to have faith that says, "nevertheless, may your will be done." But it is faithless, even stupid (I'm not calling you stupid), not to take faith in our hand and to present our petitions to him WITH THANKSGIVING.