This morning, I prayed while showering.
I pray in the shower every morning—have for years—because I’m never interrupted there. It’s ten minutes of hot water and chatting with my King. This morning, however, I listened to myself and I heard pure pridefulness pouring out.
“God, please heal my friend’s broken heart.”
“Father, please conquer my friend’s anger problem.”
“God, give me strength for today—it’s going to be a tough one!”
I felt a little ill, listening to myself recite a to-do list for God.
I rinsed the stinging soap from my eyes and said, “God, may I please start over?”
“Thank you for being God. Forgive me for asking You to see things my way. What I really want, Father, is Your will. So I’m lifting these people up to You, Lord, and asking for Your way in their lives.”
Toweling off, I thought about the morning, every morning, how I’d blithely offer up specific situations and specific fixes. My eyes filled. Who was I to tell the Creator of the Universe how to run His affairs?
I realized that my prayer habit was to ask God for His will when I had no clue how best to resolve something…but when I thought I had a good plan, I’d ask Him to carry it out.
I reflected as I combed my hair, squinting into the foggy mirror. The queasiness came back as I saw my pridefulness squinting back at me.
I decided, after my shower, to adopt a new prayer list. It goes like this:
- Thank God for specific things and acknowledge to Him that I fail to recognize most of His perfect provision.
- Confess my goof-ups and recognize that I’ve messed things up without realizing I’ve made a mess. Then ask Him to forgive me for those sins, too—the ones I can’t even see.
- Lift up my needs, people and situations on my heart, fears—and ask Him for His will in every circumstance.
- Ask Him to show me how I can serve Him better today than I did yesterday.
This new-to-me way of praying stretches my trust. Sometimes I bite my tongue when I really, really want a specific outcome. I have a friend who’s undergoing treatment for cancer right now. Of course I want God to heal her! But I hand her off to His ways, and say, “Your will here, please, God.”
Faith. That’s what my new prayer list is about.
9 “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker—
An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth!
Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’
Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’?
Isaiah 45:9 (NASB)
Thank you so much for your comment. Truthfully I waffle between seeing this as a more mature course of prayer and seeing it as a big cop-out. 🙂
i think this is a VERY honest struggle with our self-perceptions in these matters. maybe the answer is about how serious you are about actually seeking His will, and then being willing to be His hands and feet when He suggests how you can be a part of the answer to that that will.
this has been a great post that’s making me think far deeper than the original intent of the post itself… good stuff Sheila! thanks!
Oh, how I identify! I love how you’re praying for your friends now.
this is am awesome way to pray! it’s crazy how easily our prays can become self-centered, when we should be just joining the discussion with Him to simply ask His will… not ours. i love this too!
Yes! The laundry list was wearing on me. Thanks, Dan!
Thanks….it’s a different approach for me….really humbling.
This … this prayer list of pre-planned outcomes is one reason I stopped praying entirely for a while. And your new plan? So much richer and more meaningful … plus most of it comes with memory verses that just pour into the places where my plans used to go. I now grow AND fill with joy when I pray … and I think the process of handing life over to God’s will is the reason it is so.
i totally agree with you here karen! i hate how my own prayers have become very self-centered at time, with me acting like i know better than God what’s best. wow… who am i? if He is I AM, then i’m “i am not”…