Friday, May 4, 2018

Heart Check

Years ago I believe it was Lysa TerKeurst who asked this question: If God were to come to you and say He was going to answer all the prayers you prayed last week, what prayers would be answered? That will preach right there, won't it? Really puts things into perspective about how much, or little, we actually pray.

I will fully admit, I have become more of a pray-er over the last yearish. It's not been easy or natural for me because I always feel like there's so much, half the time I feel rushed, and the rest of the time I feel like my prayers are pretty inadequate. I take comfort in knowing that God knows my heart and what I really desire and that He is filling in the gaps as His Spirit intercedes with what I am struggling to accurately verbalize.

But this morning I read Psalm 20. The beginning of verse 4 says May he give you what your heart desires and verse 5 ends with May the LORD fulfill all your requests. And then I wrote down this question:

If the Lord were to give me what my heart desires and 
fulfill all of my requests, what would they be?

My intention in writing this was to help me answer two other questions:

1. Do I even know what I actually want?

2. How many of my requests are selfish, even if just a little bit?

The answer to the first question I don't even really have. There are lots of things I think would be great, but I've never really considered if they are my heart's desires. Why? Because most of them truly lack a purpose. The truth is they are things I'd like to do, but until I know why I want to do them, none of the them are likely to take flight. If you don't have a truly compelling reason, it's really hard to get motivated to put action behind a task.

The answer to the second question however was more telling.

There are things I am praying for, FOR OTHER PEOPLE, that have selfish motives. Yes the fulfillment of these prayers would be for their benefit, but they would also be for mine. Ouch.

Not so coincidentally, before I read Psalm 20, I also read 2 Samuel 10 and 1 Chronicles 19. At the end of verse 12 in 2 Samuel and the end of verse 13 in 1 Chronicles, it reads May the LORD'S will be done, and it has a superscript letter. (I think that's the one that goes 'up') The note at the bottom? Let the LORD do what is good in His eyes.

If you've ever read the book of Judges, you know that the most frightening phrase in the entire Bible exists in that book. (Well, at least I think so) Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Talk about a set up for chaos and disaster. So when I read the little note, thought about the Lord's prayer Jesus taught, and heard Hillary Scott singing Thy Will Be Done in my head, it gave those words new life.

It's hard enough to pray thy will be done as it is because we know God's plans rarely, if ever, line up with our thoughts on the matter. However, if we know that God is good, to see it as the LORD doing what is good in His eyes gives us an entirely new hope and confidence that whatever His decision is, will be what's best for us.

So what do we do?

First, I think we need to sit down and really think about what we want. 

Second, I think we need to be really honest about why we want the things we come up with.

And third, we need to believe that whatever God does is what's best in His eyes, whether we agree with His actions or not.

I've had to face the cold hard truth that I resist a lot of what the Word of God says simply because I am too afraid to get my hopes up and have them completely smashed. Because of this, I've been lisitng things I'd like to do thinking if it's God's will, somehow I will be supernaturally zapped with discipline enough to do it. Could it happen? Sure. Is it likely? No. Funny that this sounds a lot like faith without action, huh?

Let's not be afraid to dream. Let's not think that God can't do big things through us because we see ourselves as too small. If He's the one that gives us our desires in the first place, let's choose to believe that He also has a plan to fulfill them.

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