Friday, March 30, 2012


"Be anxious for nothing, but in every thing with prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."  - Philippians 4: 6,7

I know a lot of people who think that the more aggressive you are in prayer, the more obligated God is to give you what you want.  They talk about "claiming" this and "taking authority over" that.  

I suppose that that has its place, when doing spiritual warfare, which is not something for brand new believers - heck, I know people who've been Christians for years and years who quail at the thought! And yes, in certain situations I have had to travail in prayer and fight spiritual battles for myself and for those I care about.  Sometimes it is necessary.  Especially when it has to do with really battling the dark forces that have oppressed or possessed someone.  Those things are not to be entered into lightly and they require a LOT of energy.  Operating in the Spirit in this way is very draining... it's not for the faint of heart.

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But when it comes to something that I want God to do for me ... or even for a close friend ... I've become more and more uncomfortable with the attitude of entitlement that is so prevalent in the church.  

You know what I mean: the idea that we're God's kids and He's got to give us anything we want in Jesus' name.  Hm, to me, it kind of smacks of a toddler throwing a tantrum in a grocery aisle because he doesn't get what he wants.  Just saying.  

What I've learned instead to do is to ASK.  Asking - instead of telling, instead of demanding - reminds me of several things, things I forget sometimes :

He is God ... and I am not. He sees the big picture.  I don't.

I am human - and He is not.  His ways are far above my ways.  If I were really running things, I'd screw it up big time.

I have permission to ask.  "Up until now, you have asked nothing in My name.  Ask, and receive, that your joy may be full," Jesus said.

Asking means I let Him decide.  I know that the answer can be "Yes", and it can be "No," - and it also can be "Wait."  Either way, my asking (not demanding) says to Him (and to me) that I am truly willing to accept whatever answer He gives.  

No pouting, no sulking, and no arm-twisting!  Manipulating God used to be one of my favorite pastimes. But it was such a lot of stress, because I honestly thought that the answer to my prayer depended on me saying the right words, quoting the right Bible verse, getting enough people to join me in prayer for this or that thing, or pleading long enough or intensely enough. What an incredible waste of time that was!!

Asking also means that since I am willing to accept whatever He decides, I can let go of it, quit trying to control the outcome, and let Him do whatever He decides to do.  This reduces my stress considerably.  Then, I can "let my request be made known to God" and then, strangely enough, "the peace of God, which surpasses understanding, will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus."  Hm.  Now where have I heard that before?   

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