Monday, August 10, 2015

Do your prayers help you be more like Christ?

I am going to go to my favorite coffee house and when I arrive I have a choice to make.  I could approach the situation in at least two possible ways in prayer.  A first possibility is that I could pray, “God, I really want a dark roast coffee, please let the dark roast be ready.  I love dark roast so much that it is the only reason I believe you will lead me into the coffee house today.  I love you God, and I love dark roast.  Please, let there be dark roast.” 

A second possible prayer could be this: “Father, thank you for what you have given me.  I know that I will have many choices today, so please give me wisdom and discernment in those choices as I become more like Christ.  May my choices be ones that bring you honor in this way.” 

Now, what is the difference between the prayers? 

In the first example my desire for a specific thing is at the center.  I know what I want and I’m asking for it.  In the second my desire is to make wise choices as I become like Christ.  So whether or not I get dark roast does not matter.  What if the dark roast was brewed wrong that day and a better choice is to be made?  Or maybe the dark roast is the best choice.

It is okay to pray for specific things.  But sometimes we can miss the joy that awaits us.  God does want us to enjoy life, even in simple pleasures.  I believe that he has so many blessings for us each and every day down to the very kind of coffee we drink.  But how we approach the situations in our life reveals whether we are truly growing to be like Christ or merely fulfilling false or selfish motives.  There are many good things for us, but they are found in becoming more like Christ.  When we ask to be more like him we can be confident he will bring it to fruition.

Swap out the coffee illustration for the real life scenario you are going through.  You could either pray for what you want, or you could pray to become more like Christ as you walk through this journey.  Maybe there’s a bit of both mixed in if your desires are His desires.  But don’t lose the truth that God does care about your happiness.  God does want good things for you.  But more importantly and far more valuable, God cares about your holiness.  And that is found in becoming like Christ.  

Let us be among those who pray in a way that helps us grow in becoming like Christ. 

In your prayer today ask yourself who or what is at the center of your prayers?  What is your real motive?  Maybe you need to confess some things to God in prayer.  Find new ways to express your prayers that encourage your spiritual growth as you seek to become more like Christ.

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.  
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

~ Mark Deering III

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