John 3:30 – "He must become greater; I must become less.” (NIV)
“New year, new me” that’s how the saying goes doesn’t it? I can get pretty obsessive about the New Year and all the goals I want to make and all the resolutions I want to create. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with goal setting; I think it’s healthy and good. However, there’s something about the New Year that makes me feel overly optimistic about myself. All of the sudden I feel like I can conquer anything and everything. I’m eager to head to the gym 7 times a week, I’m suddenly on the gluten-free, sugar-free, paleo diet and the list goes on. I start to create a list of items on how I can improve myself, and sadly one of the last things on my mind is how I can best strengthen my relationship with God.
The first thing my mind goes to are about me, instead of how I can best create more space for God who makes me my best self.
A part of me forgets that how I have survived the past year has been through the help of Christ and the community HE has put around me. However, despite God’s provision and care, the first thing on my mind has been about myself.
I guess you can say that I have an addiction to self. Even after celebrating Christmas and remembering the story about Jesus coming down to earth, which is the biggest invitation story for us- I’m back to thinking about my own wants and needs.
Then, I realized something. It’s possible to sing the declaration of the advent without ever accepting the invitation. It’s possible to sing worship songs to Jesus, but clouded by the perceptions of other people around you. It’s possible to come to church and sit under a message but to continue to live your life with self-sufficiency, fear and rivalry. You can agree in your mind the story, but give glory (and live out) a different story. You can say yes to Jesus and experience Jesus, but go by the fumes of your own strength.
What does this have to do with prayer?
Prayer forces us to think of ourselves less, because it’s pointing us back to God and to others.
There’s something about prayer that’s always been difficult for me. Other than the given of me creating space and time for it, the biggest difficulty would be that when I pray, it would mean that I would need to look away from myself and TO Jesus for his help. When I begin to pray, it would require for me to look away from my problems and be open to what God is saying during the situation. It would require for me to put my own opinions aside in order to listen. It would mean that I would need to stop looking to myself for guidance, and reposition my mind to God. It would mean trusting myself less, and trusting God more.
But – it’s hard. It’s hard to look away from myself and rely on God. Yet, at the end of the day I know that He’s mighty and powerful, and I am not. I have limits, where as He does not.
This year, I really want to create more space for Him.
During the 21 days of prayer, my prayer is that you will learn to love your time with God more. And that you will begin to hear his voice a lot clearer then before. That you will learn to trust and love Him more, then you will yourself, and your declaration to God is the same in your actions.
Prayer Focus: Pray today that you would learn to develop a deeper love for your time with God and hear his voice more clearer.