Jesus Recycles

4 Jun

That was the title of Greg Stier’s podcast today on prayer. His main point was “Jesus recycles our hearts in the same way his heart was recycled…through prayer!” A very convicting podcast—as they usually are. But this one was especially so for me because I struggle so much with prayer. I go through seasons when I pray a lot, but most of the time I pray only a couple times a week, if that.

Back when Travis and I were still dating and I was really struggling with trusting God’s goodness and timing, I prayed a lot. I sought His face and reassurances daily, even hourly. But without that kind of deep struggle, my prayer life has wilted.

On the chapel notes, Greg wrote “Jesus wants to use your current personal and emotional struggles to get you in the prayer closet with him. There he will recycle your heart once again and prepare you for what lies ahead.” My current personal and emotional struggles. No matter how trivial or insignificant they may seem, Jesus wants to use them to get me to pray.

 

I know that a huge tendency in my walk with the Lord is do things on my own strength. That’s my personality—I do it with lots of other stuff and get frustrated when other people “baby” me or try to help me do something that I’m “fully capable of.” Leaning on others—including God—is not intuitive or natural to me.

 

So when I have a struggle, or am anxious, or feel depressed or weary, I don’t run to God in prayer. I do remind myself of truth—truths that God revealed to me—but I’m not going through life on His strength directly. I’m going through life on strength that I garnered from my knowledge about Him and my “hold tight, it’s gonna get better” attitude.

 

But I want to run to God in prayer. I want to bring Him all the little anxieties that are chipping away at my self-sufficiency and contentment:

·         feeling like we don’t have enough money to even make nice dinners during the week;

·         being nervous about finding a house and closing on it within the span of 2 months;

·         vacillating between wanting to be thinner and wanting to be free from the desire to be thin;

·         wishing I was doing something else with my life, like writing my memoir and mentoring teenage and 20something girls about God, relationships and sex;

·         dreaming about being a missionary but wondering if I’ll ever get the chance to go;

·         wanting new clothes, new CDs, new books, new furniture and gadgets but feeling like my desires extend beyond my means;

·         missing Minnesota and all my friends and family but also being excited about our adventures in Colorado and our friends out here;

·         loving married life but having it be so hard and hurtful sometimes that I’d rather feel physical than the emotional pain;

·         learning to be my husband’s helper and partner, not his competitor or foe

·         having good intentions and shotgun motivation about my spiritual disciplines, eating habits, exercise schedule, morning routine, spending habits, work ethic, and appearance, but having it fade and dissolve over time, only to wish I could be more disciplined in x and y

 

The list goes on and on. I have tried to keep a prayer journal so that when I sit down, I know what to pray for (another one of my many good intentions!). I also know that quieting my heart before the Lord would bring these things to mind but I never give myself enough time to do that. What I am going to do, though, is print this and put it in my journal. A couple weeks ago, I made a goal for that week of praying every day. And I did it too, even if it was silently while lying in bed with the lights off.

 

I need to pray for God to help me be diligent in prayer. Ironic, huh? But here’s how awesome our God is: even if I don’t pray for diligence in prayer, even if I continue to go on in my own strength (though I hope I don’t!), God still blesses me and works in me—with no thanks to myself. Praise Yahweh!

 

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