Remember last week when I talked about using my high level of holiness to get the guy? Well, this week I’m going to talk about how I was pretty sure I could manipulate God with my prayers.
Ever heard the phrase, “blind love”? Yeah…we’ll blame it on that…
At one point in the past I was dating someone that I could have seen myself marrying at the time. Going in to the relationship I really wanted it to be different than the relationships I had been in previously. I desired for this go-round to be God-honoring, making Christ the center of our lives individually and collectively.
And I pretty much faked myself out for the majority of the relationship.
I recently looked through my journal from that time period and saw pages flooded with prayers that said things like, “Lord, please draw us both in to you,” and “Father, my desire is to honor You and You alone,” and also, “God if this ever becomes about anything other than You, I pray You end it.”
Shortly after this relationship ended (and when I say shortly, I mean the next day), I read Timothy Keller’s book “Counterfeit Gods.” Through reading this book I began to realize that I was trying to manipulate God with my prayers. Even though I was praying “Christian-y” prayers, my heart was saying something completely different. My desire wasn’t necessarily to honor God, it was just to be with this man. In my heart what I meant was, “Lord, I really like this guy, and You know that…so, just make it happen. We both love You, and this ‘season of dating’ is just for kicks. I know we’re both good to go with You.”
My deepest hearts desire during that season was just to get through and move on to the next stage with this guy. I thought that just because I was praying ‘good prayers’ about my relationship that it would work out my way. I didn’t really care what God’s way was at the time. I was saying/writing these prayers just to look good to God and to keep the guy. Did you catch the part earlier when I said the relationship ended? Yeah, wasn’t the best plan.
So what’s the point in this story? Don’t make prayer all about you. When Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray in Matthew chapter 6 (aka The Lord’s Prayer), He doesn’t tell them to fake God out and to pray with selfish motives. He tells them to recognize God’s holiness and praise Him for it, to seek God’s will, to pray for daily provision, to pray for forgiveness, to seek what God has for them, not what they have for God.
Now, do I believe we should go to the Father with our concerns, desires, etc.? Yes. But do I think I should continue in a pattern of trying to fake God out to get what I want? No.
My challenge for the week: be honest with yourself and your motives in your prayer life. Is prayer a way for God to shape you or for you to shape God?