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Prayer

push

Pushing or Praying?

“And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:41-42).

I often want to get my way so badly. Being an only child, getting my way came easily. My mother totally spoiled me.

The shock to my system after I got married and all of a sudden I couldn’t get my way all the time was epic. My desperation during that time was what started my prayer life. (Isn’t it interesting the things God uses to draw us to Himself?) Slowly, very slowly, I began praying sporadically, usually when I needed something, or when I was convinced I was right about something and Nicole was wrong. I was still pushing my way through life, more than praying my way through it. I was probably trying to push God to let me get my way!

In 2011, on my 39th birthday, prayer took on a different meaning when I was convinced to make Jesus the CEO of my life and seek him every day in every area of my life. I had so much to learn, and I still do, but this was a powerful step in the right direction. Praise God.

The energy I expend praying vs. pushing is finally shifting more towards praying. Pushing is hard. Pushing my agenda, beliefs, ideas, and thoughts onto someone is not only bad for relationships, it’s pointless. I’m learning more and more to turn to God in prayer, the true power. Turning to God in prayer makes pushing look like a weak alternative. I ask more questions of my friends, family, clients, and those with whom I interact – instead of telling them what I think.

Nowadays I try to only share my agenda or opinion in specific circumstances:

  1. After much prayer.
  2. When asked directly. Even then, I usually ask questions first. Jeff, my friend and mentor, modeled this for me.
  3. With those closest to me like Nicole, Luke, and close friends or family.

Thinking about this more, when I look at how Jesus interacted with those around him, I see him praying and questioning and gently teaching, never pushing at all. If I am to be like Him, I need to totally let go of the need to push, and instead pray, ask more questions, and gently teach when it’s appropriate.

I have so much work to do here. Pushing comes naturally; prayer does not.

Where are you in this journey of praying vs. pushing?

onebook

What If Every Book Was The Bible?

One Book

When Luke was 2 he thought every book was the Bible. When I was holding a novel or a business book he would ask me, “Daddy, is that the Bible?”  Luke’s question got me to thinking: would my life be better if every book was the Bible? My mind wandered to the technical side of life—no technical books—no “how to fix a car” books, no cookbooks, no textbooks, no self-help books. Having spent a little time thinking about this, I believe it would indeed be better—infinitely better.  Let me explain.

Less is more, right? OK, less is more but with one exception. With God, more is more. Abundantly more. Overflowing more. This one-book scenario could give us more of God and potentially less of all other things.

Maybe we would not all be as educated as we are now. But maybe our minds are actually being limited by all of this diverse information we are taking in, instead of focusing on one thing: God and his inspired word. It may sound boring from the onset, but thinking about this more, how could knowing God more deeply ever be boring?

Maybe we wouldn’t have all of the advances in technology.  But is all of this technology really giving us the abundant life? Or is it all just a distraction, keeping us from deep relationship with God?

I’m guilty of being distracted by ideas, entertainment and technology, but I’m getting better at setting that aside in favor of the most important thing. The Bible is the book I’ve tried to read the most since 2006, the year I started first going to a Bible study as an adult. With this increased reading of the Bible, all of the important areas of my life have improved significantly.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

What do you think about this “one book” idea?