Prayer Makeover Part III

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I just realized that I never finished my Blog Series. Not the greatest of me– to start my first series and then just not come back to it. Sorry Saints, I am not the best with spam postings. But, without further ado: Prayer Makeover Part III (the last installment…. I hope it’s well worth the wait!)

So, if you remember, I told you all to keep your bookmarks in Matthew 6, which includes the “Model Prayer” there-in-which Jesus teaches us how to pray. Well, we’ve been looking at how to pray and why, so I guess getting direct instruction from God the Son wouldn’t be a bad idea…

However, since it’s been a bit, let’s have a short review session:

The Rules of Prayer: In order for our prayers to be heard and answered, we must abide in and accept Christ as our Savior and read his Wordshow our faith through our confidence in prayer, pray for God to do His own will before our own, rid any sinfulness from our hearts and especially in the words or intensions of our prayers, and finally, we must pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

The Process of Prayer: Go in your room and talk to God, listen to Him too!, Keep a prayer journal that you can revisit throughout the day. Read the Word and speak the Word. God will surely speak to you through them to give them new meaning and application to your own life. Work to see God everywhere! When you are constantly aware of God’s presence, it’s much easier to speak to Him and listen to Him throughout the day.

And now for the Model Prayer:

“This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’ 

-Matthew 6:9:13

This is a pretty simple prayer no? But how powerful it is!

If you were raised as a Catholic like me, you might remember the priest chanting this along with the members of the church, holding hands and singing in minor keys. During those times, I never really thought about the words we were all chanting so solemnly, but let’s look at them:

First, Jesus shows his ADORATION: he reflects on God Himself, praising him for His love, His power and majesty, and His wonderful gift of Christ and the Holy Spirit, who in combination, teach us the way to live and God’s will.

Second, Jesus shows us how to give a CONFESSION (he himself does not confess, for he is sinless): he asked God to forgive our debts and he instructs us to remember to also forgive those around us. We must be honest and humble, and remember that God loves us no matter what we do before our repentance.

The third is not directly talked about, but Jesus talks about it in other scripture, and that is THANKSGIVING: we should tell God how grateful you are for everything God has given–even the unpleasant things! Our thankfulness will help us to see God’s purpose for even the most painful circumstances, and this will allow us to have joy amidst  sorrow.

Lastly, Jesus shows us how to make a SUPPLICATION: when we ask him for our “daily bread”, or ask him to “deliver us from evil” or “lead us not into temptation”, we are making supplications to God. (AKA, asking him for things). We are allowed and encouraged to make specific requests, both for others and for ourselves, just as long as those things are within our pursuit of Christ. In other words, we should not pray for the God to hurt others or for God to give us more of something that we are placing before Him (our addictions, idols, or sinful, fleshly desires).

It’s always a good thing to pray like Jesus did in another circumstance, and add the words “But not my will; You’re will be done” after our supplications. This way, we give God the ultimate power to decide what is best for us. After all, He does know best!

The first letters of these four words form the words “ACTS”. Use this as a mental guideline for a balanced prayer life.

This way, you won’t be always exalting God (although He does love that!), nor will you always be making requests for thing, or asking for forgiveness in confession (I struggle with only making my prayers about confessing, so I need this reminder too!).

So there you have it: ACTS! (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication). Conveniently, you can read the book of ACTS and see Paul and the rest of the disciples putting these into action. Or read any of Paul’s letters, which are similar to prayers in their structure…

Thanks for being patient in waiting for the last installment of my Blog Series on Prayer. I hope you have learned something and have benefited from it. Please feel free to offer any feedback or other thoughts!

Happy Praying ❤

More than you can Handle

Have you ever hear the phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle”?  

The idea that God won’t ever give us too much is a very comforting big, fat, lie.

God WILL Give You More than You Can Handle.

I’ll admit, before I came to this conclusion, I felt comforted knowing that God would never allow anything to happen that I could not “handle,” whatever that meant. Things would always be manageable and I’d always be okay.

The truth is, the Bible doesn’t ever mention anything at all about giving or not giving us more than we can handle.

The verse that some Christians could possible confuse with this phrase is 1Corinthians 10:13:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

The key word here is “temptation.” Here Paul promises  that God will not allow us to be “tempted beyond our ability.” God doesn’t say He won’t give us what we can’t handle. He says we won’t be tempted beyond our ability.

So…. you may ask. What’s the difference? What is “our ability”? Well, the second half of the verse, I think, helps answer that question: “but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Our “ability” is attached to the way of escape that God offers us each time we are tempted to sin. This exit door is what helps us resist and escape it. But more importantly, our ability is measured by our maturity in Christ and our reliance upon the Holy Spirit.

God certainly does allow us to experience more than we can handle, though.

Jesus was given more than He could humanly “handle.”

He prayed that God would take his awful fate away from him, but he added the important words “but now my will; your will be done.”  He was then beaten, crucified, and died an excruciating death. He did so without sin, however, because while he was tempted, he knew the “way of escape”. Still, God game him way too much for anyone to handle.

Like He did with Jesus, God will inevitably allow us to experience more than we can handle. Maybe it’s in death of a parent, or a spouse. Maybe it is watching a life-long dream drift away. It could be soldiers who watch their friends die in combat. Little children and siblings born with mental illness, or physical handicaps. Or may it’s simply God calling you to a very difficult career, financial stress, a draining job, or a very lonely period of time. Any of these things might be more than we can handle… but that’s the point.

Christianity is not the guarantee of an easy life, but the abundant life.

It makes us uncomfortable to think about suffering loss and God allowing that loss. (Don’t get me started on Job.) But God wants desperately for us to cling to Him, to hold onto Him for dear life sometimes, (as we are drowning). Without Him, we would drift away into nothingness. We will suffer greatly, at some time in our life, that’s a guarantee.

And it is because of our  sufferings and through our sufferings that we can become more like Jesus:

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” Philippians 3:10

I want to know Christ and, if sharing in His sufferings is one way, then bring it on! Paul also tells us to rejoice in our trials and tribulations of any kind, for the “testing of our faith produces endurance”.

I gladly accept the fact that God will allow me to experience such pain and difficulties that I will be broken under the weight of these burdens. Then I can look to my Lord, the lover of my soul, and cry out to Him, knowing He is the only One who can save me.

I do not want to buy into the lie any longer of naively believing that there is some magic limit or glass ceiling on suffering. There isn’t, and we demean the power of Christ’s sufferings when we assume there is.

If we are do be like Him, we must suffer like Him, and then turn to only Him, only our Lord and Savior. He wants us depending on Him. When are we ever more dependent on Him than when we can’t handle ourselves?

Do you think other followers of Christ will suffer for believing the lie that God will never give you more than you can handle? How is God pushing you to lean on Him more in your life?