I love God!
I have loved Him since I was 12, and even before, although I didn’t really come to know Him until I was 12 when I accepted Him as my personal Savior.
Even though I totally claim to love Him, I realize sometimes how little I trust God to be God in my daily life.
Oh, I think I do, and I strive to of course. Many many times I really do trust Him hands down, but more often than I’d like to admit, I try to micro-manage God in my life and in my prayers.
I don’t do this on purpose; at least I hope I don’t! But sadly, I can look back and see that I have had this bad habit probably for most of my Christian life. I remember as a teenager praying for my Mother and Father to be saved. I would have this habit in my prayers of telling God, or rather, trying to convince God, of WHY they should be saved!
This was apart from the obvious, of course, that they were sinners in need of a Savior.
“Mom could be in the choir! She really has a good voice!” -Something I knew because she sang a LOT while she was heavily inebriated; mostly Dean Martin songs, all of which I can still sing to this day, btw.
Or “Daddy could be an usher! He’d be really good at that!” was another of my ‘convincing arguments’ put before the throne.
I hope God just smiled at my youthful zeal and ideals, but the reality of the answered prayers was very different from my ‘suggestions.’ My mother did get saved a few years later, and was delivered miraculously from alcohol a few years after that. But, she never sang in any choir, and didn’t even attend church very faithfully throughout the rest of her life. She did become a person who would pray for me and my children, and she rejoiced when her grandchildren accepted Christ. I loved her dearly, and would seek her advice, which was not how things started out between us when I was young, and before she gave her life to Christ.
My father, on the other hand, died of his alcoholism at a young age, just a few years after those first youthful prayers I uplifted. I won’t know until Eternity if he ever gave his heart to Jesus. One of his legacies in death was that I received social security & veteran’s survivors benefits enabling me to go to college, where I met my husband and have lived since that time, raising the 5 children together that God intended us to have.
Still, I guess I have a propensity to pray with a futuristic goal in mind, even today. A goal of my own making, and not necessarily of God’s.
My kids, now all grown and in their 20’s (one about to turn 30) are all saved, I believe. But they are in different places in their walk with God, from near to far. As I pray for them, I am still up to some of my old habits. “Oh, God, if ‘this one’ put you in the center of their life, they could do ‘such-n-such!’ and “if only ‘that one’ would do ‘blankety-blank’ they could be used to do ‘this thing’ for you, God.”
(Please God, don’t give up on me! I’ll get it straight someday! I’m still learning to trust you completely and let you be God, and not think I have to give you pointers!)
I know God knows and understands my mother’s heart, and beyond that, my optimistic, dream & ideal oriented personality. I mean, He did give me this personality, right?
Well, lately He has been not-so-gently reminding me that “He’s got this!” He doesn’t need my help. And He knows their heart’s needs better than I do. And MOST of all, He loves them more than I do!
Sometimes I go through my prayer notebook and pray for my husband, each of my children, their spouses, their children etc. individually, but lately, I’ve been praying a bit more jointly. I mean that I’ll pray over the individual family groups or even the whole group of my family (my 18 souls) as a unit. I’ll pray a prayer that, on the surface, may not seem to be very specific, but it is a complete yielding of my loved ones to a God who loves them infinitely more than I could ever dream!
I do this because it is keeping me from my proneness to try to micro-manage God.
God knows what is best for me, for my husband, and for my entire family.
So I find that sometimes I need to take a step back from the prayer list and yield the WHOLE family into His care. I still pray for them, but as a group or small family groups. This has helped me to trust God’s sovereignty in THEIR lives, as I also seek to trust it in my own.
There are things some of them are going through, or have gone through, that just kill me deep down inside… things I would like to change if I could… but I don’t have that power. I don’t have the ability to “fix” things for them. Some of these things are consequences of their own choices, but some of these things are not. They are just life. And we all know that life can be a cruel taskmaster. Mom wants to kiss the boo-boos, and put a bandage on it and make the pain go away. But I can’t.
Or, God can hold their hands through it, as He did through my & my husbands hard life-experiences, one of which you can read about here.
And, really, looking back… having God hold you though one of these life-altering experiences changes your Faith Walk like nothing else can. It make the roots grow deeper.
So, what do I really want for my children, my loved ones, for anybody I care about? I want their faith roots to go as deep as possible. I want God to be in charge of cultivating that growth and their healthy growing process. He is the Master Gardener, along with so many other “Master’s” you could think of to describe Him.
He is the Master Master!
How could I even begin to think I could suggest one note to His symphony; one color to His masterpiece, one thread to His tapestry, or one rhyme to His beautiful sonnet, that He is creating in myself or in any of my loved ones. He may decide to use me in the process, but I can’t tell Him how to do it.
He is God, and I am not, as the Stephen Curtis Chapman song says.
Now, I am not saying that I don’t pray for my loved one if there is a specific need, such as a sickness, or a marriage issue, or a parenting struggle of some sort, etc. but I also take whatever that struggle is, and yield that to God too, knowing that whatever He decides to do with that struggle is intended for a greater good in the life of my loved one. Of that, I can be totally sure, and 100% confident about. I always try to point my loved one to that knowledge too. My biggest goal in life should be to be a good pointer towards God.
I hope my whole life points toward God, and I always hope my words point others to God. My prayers should also yield all those I love & care about to God; praying in sync with God for His will to be done in their lives, as well as my own.
My suggestions for God? Well, I hope they stop before they even enter or come out of my brain.
A friend of mine used to say “God knows a thousand ways to make a way” concerning answering our prayers. I agree, and this phrase has helped me many many times. I would also add, that God knows the BEST of those thousand ways for each individual situation, and that specific way is the one He will choose. This is what I count on to keep me focused on trusting God to be God.
If you do what I have done, and habitually try to tell God “how to do it”… STOP!
It can be such a subtle habit, we don’t even realize we are doing it, but it is so unnecessary! Let alone so presumptuous, to think we could even possibly have a better idea than what God has already omniciently planned.
In the past, one of the ways I have stopped myself from making these silly suggestions is to realize that I want whatever the job or purpose of the answered prayer done in a way that is:
For God’s ultimate Glory!
These are things I couldn’t begin to know how to accomplish, even in my closest family & friends. That is why I can leave “whatever prayer need” arises in God’s more-than-capable hands, and know the prayer will be answered right, and in His perfect timing, and with the best possible outcome.
Is intercessory prayer still important? Of course it is! And many times there are very specific needs or issues we are interceding for. But even when we intercede, it is important to place that person or prayer request in God’s hands ultimately. This way, we are trusting God to be God in our, and the persons we are praying for’s, lives.
There are also prayers we can pray that we already know from the Word of God, are totally His will for us and for others. (whether they respond positively to God is still part of their free-will, of course.) Here are some prayers I know I can always pray for, even when I don’t know what else to pray.
We can always pray for Salvation for the unsaved. (2 Peter 3:9)
We can always pray for God’s Truth in the person’s life. (Psalm 51:6)
We can always pray for God’s Peace in their hearts. (Philippians 4:7)
We can always pray that they will be miserable in sin. (Psalm 38)
We can always pray for someone to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus (2 Peter 3:18)
We can always pray for them to walk in the Spirit, and be led by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16-18)
We can always pray that whatever the trial they are going through, it will draw them closer to God. (1Peter 1:3-9)
Prayer is a great gift that our Loving God has given us, and wants to share with us. When we pray with our ‘suggestions’ we leave ourselves open to a false disappointment when we don’t see the answers we are looking for, because we have our sight-limiting blinders on. When we pray with a ‘yielded-to-God’s-Will’ mindset, we free ourselves to experience God’s Sovereignty, Grace, and Provision in ways we never would have dreamed possible.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8)
Let’s just enjoy where God takes us on this journey of Prayer and Faith-Walking, and leave the ‘how-to’ details up to Him.
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