Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Prayer Doesn't Merit Favor

Hands laced together, knees on the floor, elbows on the chair.  I'd try for a time, not to put my head down.  To spend this hour in prayer, to avoid thinking of homework, to petition God, to really pray.  This was, after all, what I'd been told prayer was.  It was in the quiet, it was in private.  Some days I'd wake up after 20 minutes of praying, and 30 minutes of sleeping.  That is what happens when one works 20 hours a week, and takes 18 credits.  The candle gets burned at both ends, and the person tries to keep up a semblance of what they are supposed to do along with what they've been told they should be doing.

"Who wants to pray?" the teacher would ask.  (Let me just say, I don't like to publicly pray.  My words don't come as quickly to my lips as they do to my mind.) " If no one else will volunteer, I will, " I'd tell myself.  Then I'd breath a sigh of relief when someone else would.  This isn't a worry of mine, praying in front of people. I'm not afraid of how I'll look if I blunder because I know I'm talking to God and not a bunch of other people. I'd rather just express myself in the quiet of my own heart. 

I no longer position myself in front of chair.  My knees can't take it.  I don't have to be on my knees for God to know the status of my heart.  (I'd been taught that the position one takes proves to God what is in the heart...what a bunch of bunk!)  I no longer think I need to 'set' aside a certain time for prayer every day.  I know that God hears me no matter when I talk to Him even if I'm walking or driving.  I know that some days when all I can say is, "Help...I don't know what to say," he hears me.  I know who He is, and He can handle me being me even on the days when I need a nap.  

The human heart can take what is good, and twist it into something legalistic.  In college, I hoped to gain God's favor by my prayers. The truth is, I don't need to earn His favor or approval.  I can rest in the relationship I have with Him.  It isn't based on anything I do or don't do.  His favor already rests on me because I am in relationship with Him.  It can't be earned.

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