My Prayers Are Stale (Part 3)

prayers-are-stale-3I decided to write down what it is that I’m saying in my prayers, just so that I can look at them. Maybe God will show me what’s wrong with them.

As I started writing my prayer, I looked at how beautiful it was. Once upon a time I had opened my heart to God and asked Him what to pray for each person. I waited, and God showed me what to pray. I felt so much joy to be praying right in the center of the will of God, and I saw God move. I saw God answer prayer left and right. I am certain of the power of prayer, which is why I’ve made a lifetime commitment to do it, so help me God.

“May I not be ruled by anger but by Your Spirit. Please grant me a servant’s heart, graciousness, maturity, and wisdom.” Stop. This normally takes me less than ten seconds to pray, and I rush over it because I’m tired of it. But has God actually answered? Has my life been transformed – do I see spiritual growth in these areas of my life? And the answer is yes. I wept because God was paying attention even when I wasn’t. I hardly ever get angry any more, not like I used to. I have a deep servant’s heart. I remember one church camp when I said to my mentor, “I don’t want a servant’s heart!” and she just laughed at me. “Of course you want a servant’s heart,” she said.

I suppose I should explain this scenario. I was at a church camp for our family-integrated church, (which means that there is no Sunday School, and that our children sit with us through all the services). No matter how tired the children are, what time of day it is, or even if they can’t possibly understand anything in the sermon, they have to sit there, quiet and still.

I arrived at church camp, and I wasn’t allowed to look forward to the sessions, or it would be sin. Because when my children are tired and cranky (which they always are when sleeping away from home), it’s a full-time job to keep them under control during the services. So I learn nothing, and because of my deep love for God and WANTING so desperately to know Him in a deeper way, I resented my children. I resented them because they kept me from God.

Yet that was sin. You see, I knew in my soul that each service, I was going to clock in work and learn nothing. So when my mentor said how much she looked forward to the sessions at the beginning of church camp, I said, “Please stop it, or you’re going to make me cry. I’m not allowed to love God and look forward to learning about Him. Otherwise I become furious with my children, and that for sure is sin.”

She paused and realized that I was right. She said, “You can get the CD’s.”

“Why am I here? If I’m just going to get the CD’s, why don’t I just walk away and get the CD’s later?”

“Susan, your job right now is to train your children. God wants you to have a servant’s heart.”

“I don’t want a servant’s heart,” I said.

And now we’ve come full circle, because she knew me well enough to know that I want holiness above all else in life, so of course I wanted a servant’s heart, so I threw that phrase into my prayers for myself.

And now, years later, I see that I have a servant’s heart with more than my own children, with everyone around me. So you see, God is answering my prayers, because I meant them once upon a time, and I still mean them, because I want holiness, and I will keep asking forever until I get it.

I can’t list what I pray for other people, because it would be a breach of trust, but I was amazed at how God has answered the vast majority of the prayers that I’ve been praying. My eyes are opened. I feel joy. And I can finally open myself up to God and ask for new prayer requests, because He’s been such a sweetheart, He already answered those others without me noticing. That’s why my prayers were stale. They had expired.

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2 Responses to “My Prayers Are Stale (Part 3)”

  1. Tauna says:

    Wow – I’m really glad you wrote about this and that I read this last one in particular. I struggle with anger and have not been praying like you have. I tend to stop praying for something within a few days if I don’t see change. As much as I believe in the power of prayer, and often say so, my actions betray a great lack of faith in God, and too much reliance on myself. You said in a comment on your last post that you think prayer is the most difficult of the spiritual disciplines. I can see how that could be true for me. You have encouraged me to really seek after God’s heart on this and follow your example of faithful prayer. Thank you! Really!

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