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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Prayer: Are you Baring Your Soul or Bargaining with God?

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
Recently, I was praying for a friend of mine. There was a possible move in her future and this was the day the decision would be made by her husband’s employer. Since I cannot imagine life without her being around, my prayers were serious and offered several times. In prayer, mid-sentence I might add, I felt the Holy Spirit ask me if I trusted Him. I must admit, this caught me completely off guard! In the quiet, I felt Him nudging my heart with, “Trust me with your prayer. Trust me with the desires of your heart.”

At this point, I realized that I was bargaining with God. I was using lots of, “I really want this, but not if this or that” tucked tightly with, “if you do this, God,  I will do this or that”. I was “dressing up” my request and bargaining with God to get what I wanted. I was, in my own way, explaining to God why what I wanted was best and why that should matter to Him. Ever been there?

I have read enough on the life of King David (1 & 2 Samuel) to know he was blunt and straightforward with the Lord on all occasions. Once, when David was being chased by the blood-thirsty King Saul, David did not pray a puny, “ Lord, please save me “if” or “unless.” Instead, in that moment and all throughout his life, we see David with his heart laid wide open to his God. David trusted God to see his heart and his desires bare, raw, and untreated. I don’t know about you, but at times I am tempted to use certain “churchy” phrases like, “If it be your will, Lord.” That’s great IF I mean it.

The Lord expects our prayer-life to be authentic, genuine desire from the very essence of who we are - right where we are in whatever glorious or perplexing situation we find ourselves in. Who are we kidding anyway? God knows the desire entirely before we are even aware it exists.  We belong to a big God who can take it! Are you angry? Tell God. Are you jealous, joyous, grumpy, grateful, hurting, or happy? Tell God every detail. Prayer is a relationship, a two-way street. It’s time to be honest and bare your soul to him. He sees it and knows it anyway.  I, very simply, do NOT want my friend to move. Why? Because I love her and I want her here, with me! So, after God interrupted me, that’s exactly what I prayed for. I bluntly bore my soul and prayed for my friend to stay.

Uh oh! What if that’s not God’s will? Glad you asked; let’s go there by way of another man who prayed an honest prayer onto the pages of our Bible: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup pass from me. Yet, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). These words are uttered in anguish from Jesus’ lips just hours before his crucifixion. So, again, we see a heart laid bare before God and a genuine request made. Perhaps the most important part is at the end where Jesus bows his will to that of the Father’s. Unlike me, I assure you, HE meant it.

Also, we must realize that praying “properly” does not secure what we ask for. It frees our soul from the burden of carrying something much too heavy for us - the outcome of our destiny or that of our loved ones. We are meant to surrender our requests, placing full responsibility for their fulfillment, or NOT, squarely and only on God.  Offering my “if- then statements”, or a fake “not my will but yours,” and the like is pompous, prideful and down-right foolish!

I would be devastated if I prayed for my friend to stay on the Gulf Coast, if my petition granted meant she missed her destiny planned by God elsewhere. That’s too much! Since I cannot know what’s best for her, and her darling family, I told Jesus what I wanted and then I submitted, or surrendered, my desires under his perfect authority and plan. I decided to trust him with the outcome before it even happens.

What if she moves away, even after this eye-opening experience? I will cry, and I will miss her, but I will trust him. I will know that what he has done is what is best for her - and for me. 

Trusting God, or faith, doesn’t demand we love our circumstances. It is choosing to trust and love God in spite of them.

What issue have you been avoiding or “dressing-up” in your prayer life?

How can you be more honest with God?

What will you bare to Him?

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For more about Relevant Women -

The purpose of Relevant Women:
Relevant Women exists to train women to minister relevantly, to discover and grow in God’s call in their lives and to serve in their churches as godly leaders.

RW accomplishes this by:
•Teaching life changing truth
•Building significant relationships
•Practicing spiritual disciplines
•Defining our personal stories
•Developing our personal ministry

At Relevant Ministry, our vision is to equip leaders to minister relevantly in churches that will be healthy and thriving.

Our mission, to fulfill this vision, is training future leaders - building healthy ministries - and serving on the Gulf Coast. 

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