Thursday, January 17, 2013

Making the Requests Known

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. ~ Phil 4:6-7

Requests.  I really have not been thinking of prayer in that way.  In the Amplified Bible, the word is translated wants, in the New Living Translation it is needs.  

When I talk with friends, and I talk about my wants, dreams, desires, needs, I understand they cannot help me get them.  I am just expressing my heart, we are being knitted closer together by sharing in words what is happening in my head.  Expressing these concerns to my friend is all about intimacy. It is not about getting what I want, because most of the time, they are not able to help me, even if they want to.

But to go to my boss and talk about getting a raise, that would be a totally different thing.  Then it is not about revealing who I am, but expectant anticipation: will he or won't he give me what I want?   Will how I ask, when I ask, what I ask, interfere with what he will do for me and treat me going forward?  I may not ask at all for fear that asking, or asking in the wrong way, at the wrong time, may get the exact opposite result that I want.   My thought is: how can I manipulate the situation to get what I want?

God is neither of these two things.  And yet He is both these things.  God wants us to share our hearts with Him.  He wants us to present our cares to Him because He cares for us. He wants the intimacy of knowing what we want, what we need, what we desire.  He loves us, knows our hearts, wants the best for us so these things are safe to ask, to present to Him.  I know this about God and I want to trust Him.

But God also has the power to give us these things we ask.  And this is where I get stuck.  This is where I want to treat God like my boss.  It is not enough to just ask.  I want to ask in the right way so that I get what I want. And if I don't think I am going to get what I want, I do not ask at all.  Or I ask for something less than I want, so I can at least get the lessor thing.  I can't bear to hear His no, so I ask for what I think He will actually give me.  Or I pretend I don't want it.  I manipulate the relationship, I try to manipulate God.  I am not being totally honest with Him, or with myself.

I do not want to reveal my heart to God, because to do so, to state it, to put it out there, would risk the relationship.  To hear God's "no" would ruin me, would create dreaded conflict in the relationship.  And I could not bear that.  So I try to figure out what God will say before I ask Him instead of actually asking Him.  If I think He will say no, I ask for something else, pretend I don't want it, and so on.

I am afraid to be totally honest with God or with myself.  I am not trusting Him.  I am hiding from Him.

I am just beginning to see this, and why this is not good.

Father, I want to trust You.  I know You are trustworthy in my head, but my heart is desperately afraid to reveal myself, to be honest with myself and to be honest with You.

Prayer is not merely about getting what I want.  That would be like I am the boss, ordering You around!  That is like treating You like Genie Jesus, just rub my Bible and You come out to grant me three wishes.

Prayer is about presenting my wants, concerns, desires and even my fears to You, trusting You love me, know what is best, and that ultimately will do the best for me.  It is about humbling myself and saying I need You.  It is about trusting You with the truth that it is in my heart.  Help me to see that and do that with You.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. ~ 1 Peter 5:6-7