A New Kind of Prayer

Date: 6 Jul 2010 Comments: 0

During my time between seminary classes, I have had the wonderful opportunity to read H. Norman Wright’s “How to Find the Life You Have been Looking For.” This is a great book by a pastoral counselor who has served in the ministry for many years and has now found the way to de-clutter his life so that he can focus on what is really important. The book focuses a great deal on the importance of not cluttering your life in all aspects, including spiritual.

It dawned on me that part of the reason I had such a fall from my youth pastor role is because I was spiritually busy. I could share the good word with many students but was starving for my own walk with God. Prayers that used to ask God for help with sorting out my life had turned to how I should handle ‘x situation’ with my ministry or, in some cases, whether or not I should even do this. Now, my prayers have returned to guidance from God and requests for His care to people I know that are suffering.

Into this mix, I found a section on prayer most interesting because it talked about simply asking God to help you determine what is really important to Him in your life and to declutter what isn’t. Furthermore, Air1 has been reviewing a book over prayer with its author and asking him for feedback. One of the biggest changes he suggested is not saying “I Pray…” before asking something with the simply logic: God already KNOWS you are praying, why tell Him? I realized how much I said that prior to this realization and so I have changed this to something more informal such as simply asking God a question. It has made my prayer time seem like God is closer, more personal to me. That is not to say that I reduce His omnipotence but that I speak to Him more like a child to their father as they sit around in the living room rather than as though I am standing in a formal meeting.

Last night, I prayed a prayer that was unlike any others in my past. Instead of praying over this or that matter, I prayed something like this: “God, there are lots of things in my life that are cluttering it up. There are so many things that I have a random interest in or that seem like good ideas but what are the things in my life that matter TO YOU? When I die, I don’ t want to leave an epitaph that says something about me being a good dad or a good person, etc. No, I want my epitaph to talk about how I did what was important to YOU and brings YOU glory. If my best gift is to be a loving father and husband, that’s what I want to know. If my best gift is serving a ministry, so be it! God, the bottom line is that every single breath I take is a one that You have allowed me to take. I don’t know how many breaths I will get. It could be a day, a year, a decade, 50 years, ONLY YOU KNOW and if my time is so limited, I darn sure better be using my time the right way. Please help me clear out all the junk that You don’t want me to focus on so that I can do what you WANT me to do. ”

Although it was such a strange prayer to me, it seemed liked one of the most powerful prayers I have made in a long time. I felt a combination of amazing relief and a keen sense of dread because although I felt that I was finally asking for the right thing, it also is frightening to think of how much more vulnerable I will be when trying to figure out what things to toss and what things to keep. I am still not sure what each breath will bring nor what each moment will offer but I am really trying to line up with God’s plan in a way that makes me suited to do His will. I just hope I have the knowledge to discern truth from lie.

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