Ok, so Monday turned into Wednesday. Please forgive my delay – it is not because the book isn’t speaking loud and clear to me. I am still daily wrestling with putting what I am learning into practice. It is hard for me to be quiet and pray about it. I am particularly feeling this with my kids. I feel like I need to handle them instead of letting God do it. This is teaching me so much. I know in my mind that God is the only one who can change a heart but I feel like He needs my additional two cents. Ever feel that way??
Chapter 15 What Do We Do With Jesus’ Extravagant Promises About Prayer?
I am happy he addressed this, I have often felt that Jesus made extravagant promises and I thought he clearly explained that Jesus is not a magic genie. I love when he said “In other words, don’t mess with God. He is not your toy or your personal vending machine. You’ve got to be in the vine. But still, what about Jesus’ extravagant claims?”
And then he sums it up this “All of Jesus’ teaching on prayer in the Gospels can be summarized with one word: ask. His greatest concern is that our failure or reluctance to ask keeps us distant from God. But that is not the only reason he tells us to ask anything. God wants to give us good gifts. He loves to give.” I am learning to just ask and allow Him to do with that He pleases with my request but stop being scared to just ask.
“I find that the closer my prayers are to the heart of God, the more powerfully and quickly they are answered. The three answers to my prayers for others regarding Christlikeness were particularly striking.” I have also found this to be true – some of my biggest prayers that have been answered have been because I am doing and asking for ways to do what He commands us to do. For example, this mission trip to Africa. I am watching Him provide the financial resources for me to go and I am asking Him to provide for this trip. I am not asking for resources to spend on frivolous things but on going on a trip to tell the world about Jesus – He is providing a way for me to fulfill His command to me. I love that He commands us to do something and then gives us what we need to fulfill that command.
Chapter 16- What We Don’t Ask For – Our Daily Bread
“Yet Jesus’ prayer for daily bread was an invitation to bring all our needs to him.”
“Wisdom is richer, more personal. I don’t just need help with my plans; I need help with my questions and even my own heart. We shy away from prayers that invite God to rule our lives. They make us vulnerable.” That word again – vulnerable. I just don’t like to be vulnerable and yet it keeps coming up. I am beginning to see that how vulnerable I am is directly affecting my prayer life.
Chapter 17- Why We Don’t Ask For – Your Kingdom Come
Ok, here is where the rubber begins to meet the road. This was huge for me. I changed where he was talking to the husbands and pretended he was talking to me as a wife. “here should the husband (wife) begin? Like a little child, he should ask God for what he wants. It might help to write down in a prayer notebook or on a card what he wants changed in his wife (husband) and to find a scripture that describes Christ in her. Then he could start praying that scripture for her every day and also invite God to work in his own heart.” I am committing to do this. This is huge. I think I need to read this everyday – I have a huge desire to change others when God is wanting to change ME! HA!
“What about change in me? Almost every Christian is confident God will answer a prayer for change in us, and it scares us to death. For example, what happens if you pray for patience? God permits suffering in your life. What happens if you pray for humility? God humbles you. We’re scared of such prayers because we want to remain in control of our lives. We don’t trust God.” OUCH. What else do you say to that?
Chapter 18 – Surrender Completely – Your Will Be Done
And the rubber is now beginning to leave marks on the road of my heart. This is another fundamental truth that will begin to change how we deal with our kids. I loved the example he used with this son and how he realized he was doing the same thing to his son that he was getting onto his son about. How many times have I done this? Gotten mad at one son for using harsh words with his brother when I am using harsh words with him?
“Sin is complicated. We are never a passive observer, dispensing wisdom and justice. We are part of the mess. My solution to the problem made it more complex. That’s why we can’t afford to do anything on our own.” Amen. “Instead of using your insights into other people’s issues as a spiritual hammer, Jesus wants you to take these insights and deepen your own repentance (7:1-5). Argh! How do I do life?”
Ok, the whole taking out the trash thing nailed me between the eyes. How many times have I done this?? I have so much to work on. I need to read this chapter again and again too! Help me, Lord to live out these truths I am learning. That I fewer words for those around me and more words for God. And that I discover Jesus on the other side of the trash can.
Ok ladies, this is getting better and better. Next week, he will show us how to practically live out what we are reading. Get out your notecards, it is time to put those prayers to paper.