Don’t pray this prayer unless you mean it

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As the famous Beatles song reminds us, life is made of seasons. We cannot always predict the kinds of seasons that will come, how long they will stay, whether they will gradually evolve into the next season, or simply come to an abrupt end. All we know is that life doesn’t stay the same.

Now that we are all depressed from reading the opening paragraph and need a good glass of wine (I mean grape juice – almost forgot for a minute that I’m a good Baptist), I believe there is a dangerous question we need to be willing to ask God as we carefully listen to His voice in the midst of whatever seasons of life we find ourselves.

Here is the question, in the form of a prayer:
“Lord, what do you want me to turn loose of? What do you want me to keep in my grasp? Is there anything new of which you want me to reach out and take hold?”

Lord, is there anything I need to turn loose of that is affecting my ability to experience your best for my life?
How about unforgiveness? Someone once said that forgiveness is giving up hope of having a better past. The desire for opportunities that are not in my gift set? Predictability? Financial security? Fears of the future? A bad habit? A toxic relationship?

Lord, what do you want me to hold onto?
That job? That unpleasant task that just doesn’t make any sense?

Lord, is there anything new on the horizon that you want me to take hold of?
A new opportunity? A new way of doing things? A new habit? A deeper level of trusting you?

Why ask such a silly question? Why not just let life happen as it will?

Well, because 1) God is a very personal God who cares about the most intricate details of our very lives and wants to speak to us; 2) we are reminded to seek His face always and in every situation; and 3) who wants to live a boring predictable life when you could actually be following Jesus?

For me personally, there is one specific passage of scripture that God has used in times past that has helped immensely to bring clarity to areas and decisions that tend to fill up with fog quicker and longer than I would like to admit (which is one big reason why I need to ask this question of Him more often than not). It is found in the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:29.

Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

It is worth noting that this verse follows the invitation of Jesus that seems to almost contradict.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Hmm. But then it clicks. Simply put – there is His yoke for you, then there’s everyone else’s. The way we find rest in Christ is to realize and take on only the yoke that He calls us to. (This kills those of us who like to say yes to everything and everyone for fear of letting people down.)

I am forty-two years young. I would like to believe that I have a lot of living yet to do, but we all know how that goes. No day is promised. Even still, I am faced with several realities in front of me (and within me) that require my attention. And the one thing I caught myself praying today is this unscripted prayer I have shared with you. And I believe it is a prayer God is going to answer in His timing.

It is a dangerous prayer, because by praying it, we are relying on replies we get from the Lord (imagine that). And depending on what we hear, our obedience to His voice can be a real faith -stretcher.

But may I convince you that it could be much more dangerous to NOT be willing to pray this prayer, or one like it? Why risk holding onto something that ends up choking the very life out of you that Jesus came to offer? Why let go of something before its time and miss out on a life-changing blessing from God? Why miss taking hold of something that God wanted you to have in your grip and eventually bless others with?

I dare you to pray it. Until next time…

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