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A Praying Life, Chapter 18


Chapter 18: "Surrender Completely: Your Will Be Done" | Week of July 8, 2018

“But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’” – Luke 18:13

REFLECT:

"We can't pray effectively until we get in touch with our inner brat." (Page 143) That's the challenge Paul Miller lobs at us in the final paragraph of this week's chapter of A Praying Life. Until we recognize that we are constantly trying to do things our own way, we will struggle to pray openly, easily and effectively.

Miller shares his own struggle with prayer, which seems common to all of us: "The great struggle of my life is not trying to discern God's will; it is trying to discern and then disown my own. Once I see that, then prayer flows." (Page 139)

Sunday's sermon on Luke 18:9-14 reminded us that we can never please God in our own strength — and especially not if we are self-righteous about our spiritual efforts. "Don't use spirituality as a means for getting power and glory. Jesus closes the door to getting your identity from your own righteousness." (Page 140)

Our attitude ought to reflect the tax collector's, seeing that we bring nothing to God that can earn his blessing. We only have the hope of God's mercy and grace. Prayer that recognizes we bring nothing allows God's will to guide us instead of our own will. 

RESPOND:

Are you stubbornly clinging to something that interferes with honest prayer for God's will to be done? "Sin is complicated.... We are part of the mess.... That's why we can't afford to do anything on our own." (Page 138)

Spend some time conducting an audit of your heart's motivations. Are there areas where you insist on your will rather than God's? Do you distrust God's goodness to give you the peace, rest and blessing you need? Identify anything that might suggest you are working on building up your own righteousness. 

PRAY NOW:

Pray that God's will be done. Confess the area (or areas) that you identified above, asking God to grow your faith that his will is better for you than your own. Confess that you bring nothing to the table when it comes to earning right standing with him. Ask him for grace and mercy to make your heart align with his.  

PRAY LATER:

Please be in prayer this week as Pastor Sean returns from sabbatical. Pray that he and his family will be able to jump back into their rhythms easily. Pray for him as he begins to reconnect with his leadership responsibilities as we trust that this time of rest and reflection has strengthened his relationship with Jesus and renewed his spirit.     

PRAY AS A FAMILY:

Talk to your kids about what the word "will" means, in the sense of what someone wants to see happen. Do they sometimes have a different will than you do? Do they sometimes have a different will than God does? Help them to think about praying for God's will to be done in their daily life.

Tags : prayer, devotional