We often hear about praying to give thanks. For example, we pray over our food to thank God for what He has provided. We also thank Him for our blessings, such as waking up to another day of life.
On the other end of the spectrum, we correlate prayer to asking for what we need. When we need healing, we pray. When we need a job or a change in our situation, we pray then, too.
While both ends are important reasons, I often wonder about the middle: What about all the times in between – the “everyday”? If we’re not particularly praying out of gratitude or need, what is the purpose of prayer?
The regular, everyday prayers are equally as important, if not more. Those are the humbling prayers that remind us most that we belong to a God who is in control.
See, our culture teaches the opposite of that truth. Everywhere we look, we’re given prideful messages that imply we’re in full control of our lives: If I desire something, I’m fully responsible for making it happen. When I go out there and achieve it, I point to myself and receive all the glory: “I did that. Me.” If I want my circumstances to change, I’m the only one who can change it. If I’m determined enough and skilled enough, I can then stick out my chest with my hands on my hips shouting, “It was all me! Look at what I accomplished.”
Don’t get me wrong here. Although the idea that we’re in control is true to an extent, it is only true to an extent. We can only go so far with our natural strength. It’s then that God takes over with His supernatural strength. For that reason, there can never be a time that we say, “It was all me.” That is simply not true.
This is a lesson I’m learning right now. I’m a fixer. In order to fix, I must be in control. Of everything. Everything. Honestly, I never realized how much control I aim for until I understood how much control I actually DON’T have. God, in His loving but firm ways, reminds me more and more that my tools can only create so much.
- Through all my loyalty, I couldn’t make someone love me enough to choose me.
- In all my skills, I couldn’t make an addiction just go away, never to be desired again.
- With all my strength, I couldn’t outweigh the heaviness of constantly seeking the approval of others.
I placed my hope and faith in my toolkit only to be disappointed every time. Yet, praying daily has taught me that my control is nothing without the power of God’s big toolkit. It is during those prayers that He teaches me, counsels me, and encourages me as I navigate life.
Leaning to Him in prayer is what keeps us humble. I heard a pastor say it best:
“A day without prayer is a boast against God.”
~Pastor Jimmy Evans
When we don’t take time to pray, we are saying, “God, I don’t need you.” Again, this is simply not true.
It is hard – it is so hard- to let go so that He can be God for us. It’s more of a mental decision than anything else. But, trust that the more we try, the easier it will become. It’s definitely a humbling experience along the way. The more you make it a regular routine, the more you’ll be filled with His peace and strength. I’m living proof of that, and I encourage you to start today.
“Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.”
Jeremiah 33:3 MSG