Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dependent on God: Part 2

So, are we dependent on God? Do we need to pray? Or are we self-sufficient to the point where we no longer need Him?
Let me try to outline two answers that I've been contemplating.
The first answer is somewhat simplistic: YES, I am dependent on God! On the surface, it seems that I don't need God, and I can do things myself. And yet, when you think about it...
  • Instead of asking God for a raise, I could just work harder. But God gave me the smarts to do my job, and He invented jobs!
  • Instead of asking God to heal my child, I could just call the doctor. But who created that doctor?
  • Instead of praying for rain, I could dig an irrigation canal. But God created the river or lake that I'm tapping into.

We don't think we need God, and yet EVERY breath is a gift from Him! Every muscle movement, gravity, the way light enters our retinas, heart rate, sense of balance, the way our fingers can manipulate tiny or large long could this list go on?

As my friend Jim often prays, "God, I can't take ONE STEP without You."

Now, my second answer is a little more difficult to grasp. I am still dealing with it myself.

"Asking" prayers are the prayers of an immature relationship with God. Don't get me wrong, I think God WANTS us to feel free to ask Him for things or help. But if this is all we pray for, something doesn't quite seem right.

When we are children, our conversations with our parents are "asking" conversations. My 3-year old and I don't have deep conversations about the world yet (even though he is incredibly intelligent!) Most of the time, he is asking for juice, or a sucker, or a toy, or to have a book read to him, or for a get the idea.

As we grow older, we are able to speak with our parents about more subjects. We are learning more about our world and ourselves. We can communicate better. We start to become self-sufficient. Sometimes we even think we don't need our parents. (Sound familiar yet?)

When we get still older, our relationship with our parents changes. We become more interested in their lives. We call them more often. We check in on them, just to see how they are doing. We mention that we love them more.

And why this change? Because, I believe, as we grow older we realize the world does not revolve around us. We think less of ourselves (hopefully) and think more of others. We give up our ideas of wealth and popularity and greatness and being god and start to see how truly small we are in a great big world.

While I have an adult relationship with my parents, I am still a child in my relationship to God. Most of my prayers default to "asking" prayers. The next step, I'm told, is "thanking" prayers, or recognizing God for who He is. And even further down the prayer road is the prayer where all you want is to spend time with your Heavenly Father.

In my previous blog, I listed the Lord's Prayer. In it, Jesus only asks for one (physical) thing: His daily bread. Everything else is a recognition of who God is.

Read Paul's prayers. Very rarely does he pray for physical things.

  • I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints... (Eph. 1:17-18)
  • For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:14-19)
  • Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel (Eph. 6:19)
  • I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philip. 1:3-6)

I may never be a spiritual giant, and I think God is OK with that. But I aspire to have a more mature relationship with where I talk to Him more often, tell Him what's happening in my life, listen to Him, and just enjoy being with Him. And even though I am self-sufficient in many ways, I aspire to reach the point where I realize that every minute of my life is due to God's amazing grace.

1 comment:

Judy said...

Thanks for giving me some things to think about. I am always trying to improve in my prayer life. I need to look more at the prayers in the Bible. That was good to see how Paul prayed a lot for others and even when he asked them to pray for him, it was so he could speak the gospel more effectively.