The Prayer of Ultimate Dependence4:08 PM
We're all encouraged to take our problems and conundrums to the Lord in prayer. That's called dependence. When we reach the end of our rope, we're forced to acknowledge that, oh, hey, I'm finite and fallible and need Jesus.
Which is a good thing.
But real, true dependence goes a step further than that. Real dependence doesn't use God as a bargaining tool, as a means to a self-determined desirable end. It is good for someone in a near-death situation to cry out to Jesus and promise to serve Him the rest of his life if He only saves him from dying right then and there -- but that is not the fullest expression of faith. The underpinnings of that plea is that staying alive is the best possible thing to happen. Since the human is obviously incapable of avoiding death on his own, he turns to Someone who is quite capable of fulfilling the goal of staying alive.
I pray prayers of avoidance all the time: "Please, please heal me. Please, please let me get this. Please, please keep that trial away from me. Please, please let this thing go my way." My plans fulfilled by God's power. (He asks for requests and petitions, by the way, so it isn't unbiblical to ask things that seem good to you.)
Still, such requests get old after a while when the healing or the things I want don't come. It gets hard and confusing when that trial won't get out of my life. I tried to cry myself to sleep every night begging God to take my insomnia away. (It's a joke, because you can't actually sleep when you have insomnia.) I pleaded with Him to heal me instantly when I came down with the longest, most painful sore throat in my short history. Instead it developed into fever, losing my voice, and exhaustion, making the first week of my working life quite interesting. I cried and cried to Him about making a certain dream of mine come true. . .and so far, it doesn't at all look like He will grant that prayer.
I want to pray prayers that God will answer affirmatively. It seems to me that praying prayers that God answers affirmatively means that I am praying in His will, that I am agreeing with His thought processes. And I want to be on the same page with God. My opinionated stubbornness and pride gets me into enough trouble that I'm wise enough to want to be on His side. I am used to getting my way, to being right, so whenever things don't go my way and I'm not right or acknowledged to be right, it's downright devastating.
As I got more and more tired from lack of sleep, as I became sicker, as I slowly watched my dream slip through my hands, I got more and more desperate for God, more and more anxious for a prayer to pray that would connect my will with His.
A couple Sundays ago, visiting a beautiful Reformed church with my boyfriend, I got my answer. Bam. Short and sweet: Don't learn to pray only, "Lord, get me out of this." Learn to pray, "Lord, get me through this."