What does it mean to pray for blessing in your life?
I’ve had a busy week moving my mom into my house this week, and I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a good life because of that. She’s in great health, and she’s not really “old”; it was just time to downsize and it made financial sense for her to move in with us since Keith and I are gone so much on the road with me speaking.
So she sold her house and did the big move yesterday.
And so I’ve been thinking about what it would be like at the other end, when you realize that life is changing and you likely won’t own a house again. How do you decide if your life has been good? If your prayers have been answered?
It reminded me of this short post I wrote years ago, and I thought I’d run it today as our short Friday Marriage Moment. It may not seem that it relates to marriage, but I think it’s a message we need for all of life.
Sheila’s Marriage Moment: Be Careful of Praying for Blessing
Everyday I check in on my favourite lists on Twitter, and recently I saw this by a “Life Coach”:
Start by blessing yourself. “May I be safe, may I be happy, may I be healthy, may I live with ease.”
I thought this was interesting. In my women’s retreat package, “Cutting the Strings“, I actually speak AGAINST all of those things.
Too often our primary prayers are for our own health, safety, happiness and well-being. And yet that was never what Jesus prayed for his followers, and it wasn’t what Paul prayed for his spiritual children.
Maybe our whole idea of what it means to be blessed is skewed.
Sometimes it is only through adversity that we really grow. It’s like in Finding Nemo. Remember that scene, near the end of the movie, when dad Marlin is distraught because it looks like he will never be able to rescue Nemo? And Dorrie tries to cheer him up, which makes Marlin even more irritated.
“Don’t you understand?!?” he cries. “I promised him that nothing would ever happen to him!”. “Well, that’s a funny thing to promise,” replies Dorrie. “Because if nothing ever happened to him, then nothing would ever happen to him.”
I think there’s a lot of spiritual wisdom in that fish.
The point is not what happens to us in life; it’s how we respond, and whether we allow God to turn it into good.
And that’s the attitude that Paul takes. He prays that God will help the Ephesians to understand how long and high and wide and deep is the love of Christ. He prays that they may grow in wisdom and understanding. In Colossians he prays that they may bear fruit in every good work, and they may know the knowledge and wisdom and will of God.
Aren’t those things more important?
You see, if we understand how much God loves us; if we grow in understanding; if we bear fruit; if we grow in unity and love–then no matter what happens to us, we’ll be fine.
But if we concentrate our prayers on good things happening, then we not only lose out on opportunities to grow; we also leave ourselves unprepared with bad things do happen.
And the same goes with prayers for our children. Are you consumed for praying for their safety? Are you constantly praying that God will give them good lives? Why not pray, instead, that they may grow in wisdom and understanding? Because if they do that, and if they understand how much God loves them, they’ll be fine. They’ll soar. They’ll fly. No matter the circumstances.
When we worry about circumstances, we become slaves to this life. When we concentrate on God, we actually become free. So stop praying for your own safety and happiness and well-being, and pray for your heart. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with asking God for safety, but if this is the predominant prayer, you have a problem. Your soul is worth so much more; ask God to nourish it this weekend!