Monday, March 19, 2012
Am I Praying to Engineer Outcomes?
My hubby constantly challenges me when I have conflict with someone in my life by asking "are you trying to engineer an outcome in this situation or are you loving them where they are?" Yikes. It's hard when you see someone in your life that you think is making a poor choice for themselves (or others) to not want to tell them what they should be doing to "fix" the problem. I am convicted that I do the same in my prayer life. How often do I go to God with a list of things that I want Him to change, both in myself and in others, and give Him the ANSWER. I tell Him what He needs to do. How funny is that, when you really think about it? He is GOD, for crying out loud. I think He knows what we need better than anyone because He created us...hellooo! But that doesn't necessarily mean that I can't ask God for things to change in people's lives, especially when there is sin and hurt and grief and destruction that is evident. But what I am being challenged by lately is that I have to pray for these people and these hurtful, destructive issues to change in their lives with OPEN HANDS, with an ATTITUDE OF SURRENDER. As Easter approaches, I am reminded of Jesus' words in the Garden of Gethsemene, before he headed to the cross. "Father, please take this cup from me...yet not my will, but Your will be done." That is a model way to pray for me. I can ask God: please Lord, change this person's heart...or please Lord, rescue this person from despair or lies or greed or addiction...but simultaneously praying: yet Lord, you know best. Your timing is best. Your knowledge of this situation is best. You know what this person needs better than anyone else. Not my will, but Your will be done. In doing that, I am surrendering my desires. I'm surrending my DEMAND for someone to change. I surrendering my EXPECTATIONS for what should happen in the situation, for what God should do, for how He should fix it. In that, I am releasing that person and situation to the Lord. And there is such PEACE in that! Because I am no longer holding onto and chomping on it and stressing about it and getting frustrated thinking about. Because I have RELEASED it to the Lord. I have humbly submitted myself to His reign, His sovereignty, His control over life. It's funny how...even in prayer, God is showing me that I don't trust Him. That I still think I am in control. So I will continue to reflect on my Savior...who turned His head toward the cross and in agony, knowing what lay ahead for Him, prayed, "Not my will, but Your will be done."