Question. Did you double down on your Big Prayers yesterday?
My guess is most didn’t. The next question is, why not? The answer to that may get a little complicated. I’m going to dig a little into my own psyche. See if this will be of help to you.
• I’m very comfortable right now, thank you. I really don’t have any pressing needs. Isn’t this probably the situation for most of us in the United States? We have it pretty darned nice. No famine or drought. Hurricanes come and the nation quickly comes to clean it up. Plenty of clothing and shelter. No civil war. All this and we find little reason to seek God. I find little reason to seek God.
• I’m too lazy. Now we’re getting personal! The fact of the matter is that I am very undisciplined. While I would classify my sin problem as gluttony and not sloth, lack of self-control is a form of laziness. I simply don’t want to pray as often or with as much intensity as I know I should.
• I’m too busy. Isn’t this the catch-all excuse for everything?! Too busy. I burn my candle at both ends and brag about it! Then I crash and go into crisis mode and make everybody’s life miserable because I can’t handle life.
• I don’t want to draw attention to myself. I think this one has a couple of subsets.
o False Pride. Did I say, “false pride”? Yes. I don’t want to draw attention. Why? Because I don’t want people to think I need help. I might label that humility; but in reality, it’s pride. I’m above those kind of problems. Certainly, I don’t need help with something like that!
o Shame. As a kid, the thought dawned on me that I hoped God would never give me the gift of healing. Why? Because then people would flock to me. I would then be known as a man of God who had special gifts. I didn’t want to be known as a man of God. Secretly, I still don’t. Why? Because there are times that I am still ashamed of the gospel. To my shame.
• I don’t believe God will answer me. Let’s face it. I have had prayers that weren’t answered. Big Prayers. I have seen families ruined by divorce, addiction, infidelity, you name it. People die. People lose jobs. When times are really, really tough, I pray hard and ask everyone to pray with me. It seems that seldom do these prayers get answered the way I want. As a believer, I don’t say that God can’t or won’t answer me – outside of perhaps a couple very close confidants. Inside my head, that’s another story.
This list makes me very uncomfortable. Actually, I would rather not look at it. I wrote it, but I wish I hadn’t. The scary thing is this is just off the top of my head! What other reasons do I use? I do believe I have some serious thinking that needs to be done. I need to be careful here and make sure that this doesn’t throw me completely off track. First and foremost, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1). Condemnation is a scheme of the devil. It has no place here. However, I do have some things to straighten out. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of you mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
Once again, I need to seek help in even the basics. Didn’t Jesus tell me that? “[F]or apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5b). I need to be like this dude:
Mark 9:20-24 And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately, the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
More and more, I believe, yet I have so far to go. If I really allow myself to taste and see that the Lord is indeed good, none of these excuses will hold me back from doing that which God assigns for me. I need Jesus to not only answer my prayer, but help my unbelief. I have made progress in all this and will not attain perfection this side of heaven, but I certainly expect to be much farther along next year than I am today – IF I seek God each step of the way.
Father, what can I say? I have squandered time in unbelief. Please help me in my unbelief. Let me cast aside all the reasons why I don’ pray so that I may vigorously pray Big Prayers. Let me be the one who leads by example and encourages others to do the same. Let me keep my eyes riveted on Jesus’ so that I may stay focused on things of heaven. Amen.
Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers