Praying for Things

I’ve changed a lot the past few years, and I approach prayer completely differently.

My MO has always been to offer up what I want in prayer. The scripture says that you have not because you ask not. So I asked.

Over time I realized that some of the things the Lord  gave me weren’t good for me. God probably got real frustrated with me and gave me what I asked for. I regret that for a couple of reasons….first, it wasn’t pleasant, second, I substituted my own judgment for the Lord’s.

Now when I pray,  I think about what is of eternal significance. Yes, I want my child to get good grades, but even more I want him to experience the salvation of Christ. When he walks with the Lord, he will be saved, and that’s important. I know the Lord wants it for him too.

I do pray for people  to be healed. I don’t know the kingdom significance of that, but I don’t think God likes suffering. I leave it up to Him to decide.

I don’t think God reveals to me the right decision to make in any given circumstance. I try to do what’s right and live with wrong decisions.

I do think God cares about the minutia of my life. He cares about everything I care about. So I talk to God about everything. I think he wants to talk to me and be with me. I think that is His will.

I know this doesn’t make me a prayer giant. It might not be new to any mature Christian. But for me it’s the recognition of my maturation in my relationship with the Lord. It it my hope that I grow and learn and will be an even more effective prayer warrior.

Praying for Things

Pain

When there is a death or a really big problem, I have turned to some excellent books on the subject of human suffering.

There are two things to read when experiencing pain. One is how to deal with it. The other is to try to understand it.

One of my favorite authors, CS Lewis,  wrote a wonderful book entitled ‘The Problem of Pain.’ In defining suffering, he says:

‘In the most complex of all the creatures, Man, yet another quality appears, which we call reason, whereby he is enabled to foresee his own pain which henceforth is preceded with acute mental suffering, and to foresee his own death while keenly desiring permanence.’

That sums it up neatly. We aren’t permanent. Our loved ones aren’t either. We witness this, and we suffer. Unfortunately, understanding that we are going to lose those we love, doesn’t nullify the suffering we go through when we lose them.

We lose people two ways. First, through personal conflict. Probably the worst way, because we throw away time together for petty differences. The second way is through death. While death seems awfully drastic, and we suffer way more by loss through death, we will hopefully be reunited with them through eternity.

I hope to enjoy the relationships I have as much as possible now, but I know I won’t. I have been worse than average at maintaining good relationships, but I’m not a hypocrite, I purpose all of the time to do better by the ones I love. I pray and hope and wait. With God’s help, these relationships will get better. It will take time.

Lewis, C. S. (2001). The Problem of Pain (p. 2). New York: HarperOne.

Pain

Long Relief

I haven’t ever charted my moods, but they have always been pretty regularly up and down in a week to two week period. They call my kind of bipolar ‘rapid cycling.’ A Bipolar I person will have ups and downs that last months. I could go up and down in a matter of days.

My life is great right now. I have to say. I’m seeing someone, and that’s just been so fun, exciting, emotionally warm and fuzzy. So I would expect to have a better mood.

That said, I started seeing him in April and in July I had a week long depression that was almost physically painful. We were having my nieces and nephews for the week and I don’t know if it had to do with so many people in the house, but I was miserable.

I had my surgery in August. August is the month I have always been hospitalized (the 3 times I have been). I expected something, but my mood was good.

After the surgery, I had to get off the anesthesia and pain medications and yet no  depression.

I attribute it to a few things. First, a better diet. No sugar or soda. No fried foods. Smaller quantities. Weight loss.  Exercise. Regular vitamins. Taking my thyroid medicine regularly, as well as my other medications. A loving nurturing home environment. Friends.

I’ve been going to church again. AA meetings, of course.  Just coming out of my shell.

I’m beginning to have hope that my life might be more level in the future. Maybe I’m actually becoming stabilized. Maybe my hardships have given me a perspective full of gratitude. I’d like to live with this hope rather than hoping the depression doesn’t return and guarding myself against it.

Yes, there will be down days. Everybody has them. I’m talking about relief from something bigger than that. Deliverance.

Long Relief

Asking God for a Word

It’s one of those things we humans do in our relationship with the Lord. We ask him for a sign. We ask him for a word. When he doesn’t answer in the way we want Him to, we become discouraged and doubtful.

In Ezekiel it speaks to this rather clearly:

Chapter 20

The Rebellion of Israel
On August 14,* during the seventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, some of the leaders of Israel came to request a message from the LORD. They sat down in front of me to wait for his reply. 2 Then this message came to me from the LORD: 3 “Son of man, tell the leaders of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: How dare you come to ask me for a message? As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I will tell you nothing!’

The point is that we don’t have the right to ask God for a sign or a message. I don’t know why we think we have the right. And if he gave us a message, we either wouldn’t be happy with it, or would discount it. Because we truly don’t want to know the future. Not knowing the future is a way God protects us.

I don’t believe God has a single path for us. I think his will is obedience, and he works within whatever choices we make to get us closer to him.

I am divorced. I hate that term. I hate that state of being. Still,,2 1/2 years after my separation, I can see God’s answered prayerss and blessings. I don’t think it was God’s will, but I think he used it to bring me into a more intimate relationship with him.

I’m not seeking a sign. I’m simply trying every day to be obedient to Jesus.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Eze 20). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Asking God for a Word