Today, I decided to try an experiment. Of prayer. An exprayeriment. (I also can't resist making entirely ridiculous words out of existing ones.)

Although I "know" I have a loving Father who desires to give good gifts to his children, has kind intentions toward me and a future vision for my life that is more beautiful, more glorious than anything I could conjure up, I don't ever ask him for anything.

It can be traced back to a lot of things... a lot of distortions. Unbelief in who the Father is and who I am as his daughter, because of the work of Jesus. Maybe you've recited the same dialogue I have:

  • To admit I want or need something reveals that I lack the ability or ingenuity to get it for myself.
  • My desires are probably dumb... probably wrong... probably not good for me and rooted in selfish motives anyway. I don't want God to think I'm foolish and selfish... and I definitely don't want to be wrong.
  • What if the answer is "no"? Can I handle the disappointment? 
There's a lot wrong with all of those statements. Ha. We'll get to that rat's nest in a minute.

But first, I want to look at what kinds of prayers those beliefs produce. The prayers that proceed from this distorted heart are aloof, hovering above the surface but never plunging the depths. Very stoic, vague. Not at all vulnerable. Never expectant. Have a semblance of godliness but lacking its power. They're safe, highly prefaced prayers... full of excuses and loopholes through which to escape from taking ownership. They don't take a stand on anything, bank on anything, lean on anyone. They're faithless. They're nothing but the echoes of a white-washed tomb

Now, the rat's nest. There are two sides to it. First, I do lack the ingenuity and ability to get my wants and needs. I do have selfish motives. I am foolish. I often don't know what's good for me. I do often ask for stones thinking that they're bread. But what is equally and even surpassingly true is that I have a Father who loves me. He loves me. And he wants to walk with me through these things. He doesn't want me to be aloof and pretend that these things are not true... he wants to walk alongside me in spite of my shortcomings and inabilities. He wants to gently discipline me, as a good Father does, to desire the things that are good. On the other side, I do have holy desires. I do desire things that are truly good. I do want things that would please him. He hears that, too! And if he doesn't fulfill these wants, I don't have to fear disappointment. I am not alone in it. He has his reasons for giving, for taking away, for deferring dreams, for waiting... and I can trust him. The question is, then, do I want to relinquish control of the outcome? Do I want to give up my meddling? Do I want to surrender to him and let him accomplish what he would intend, even if it's not what I want? Good questions. 

The truth is, you have to start somewhere. And I will often choose to not begin the journey at all, it's too hard. But your heart is not going to change overnight and it is certainly not going to change by praying the prayers you think you ought to pray, the ones that "sound holy." If prayer is anything, it is honest. It is not pretty, it is often messy. It is more undignified than it is calm, cool and collected. Look at the prayers of Hannah (who was thought to be drunk because she poured out her heart before the Lord so earnestly), of David (who, if anything, didn't shy away from prayers that didn't "sound holy"), and even of Jesus himself... I don't think any of us could say that their vexation, despair or anxiety was unwarranted or that the Father was disappointed in them for praying in angst. Quite the opposite, in fact. Read up. See how the Father works with his children and turns mourning into dancing, fear into faith. It's beautiful and it's truth.

As a daughter of the Heavenly Father, my prayers are met with the same kind, loving, listening ear. I can pour out my heart—and exactly what's on it and in it—without fear of rejection. I can be mad. I can be sad. I can be scared. I can tell him exactly what I want. I can use names. I can be specific. And he will listen. He will answer. And he will change my heart along the way. 

This morning, I exprayerimented. I asked for things. I told him what I wanted. I hold him how I was feeling. I poured out my heart exactly how it was... and what happened was beautiful. But I won't tell you what happened because I want you to find out for yourself. 

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." —James 1:5-8

1 comment:

Gena said...

Thanks! I want to exprayeriment, too - I think. Maybe. It's scary, though. What if I can't do it?