Search This Blog

Monday, May 31, 2010

What is shaping your life - Part II

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. (Philippians 4:6-7)

In prayer, we have several opportunities to lay things out before God. As we pray, we go through a process of introducing our questions, requests or pleas in such a manner that they get the attention of the one you are bringing them to – God. It is not a casual discussion, in passing, that never brings resolution to those things that are weighing us down. It is an earnest discussion, laying it all out before God, and then letting him help us with the solutions. We bring our:
   Questions – because we need wisdom
   Requests – because we need direction
   Pleas – because we need intervention
Making an earnest request in a humble manner is key to allowing worry and fretting to become a behavior of our past and not of our present.

Let petitions and praises…

In prayer, we offer both. Petitions are a form of earnest request – an entreaty of the heart that asks for some object / thing, privilege or favor, a certain course of action to be taken. It is the process of asking with such intensity that God knows your mental state and seriousness of heartfelt need. This is fervent, passionate prayer. Coupled with the laying out of our petitions, there is to be praise. In praising God, we are acknowledging the expression of value or merit of his character. We are commending him, especially as it applies to glorifying God because of his perfections. Worship him – not because of what he does, but because of who he is. Not just to get what we want, but because he is God.

Let petitions and praises shape our worries into prayers…

Our prayers are “shaped” by our petitions and praises – not by our worries. What we express in earnest request and the process of lifting up the one who can meet those requests is really prayer. Our prayers are purposefully “shaped” – and in turn, they shape us. Prayer stems from worship and is based on the passions of our heart, the knowledge of our need, and the challenges of our present limitations.

Letting God know your concerns…

It is not that he doesn’t already know they exist – he just wants to know how we are seeing them, how they are affecting us, what we plan on doing with them. He is all-knowing, but he values our discussion. He is just like a wise counselor – he allows us to talk, interjecting a word of two here and there, all the while directing the discussion and our thoughts toward what will bring revelation of the answer. Any concern that we have occupies a place in our mind and heart that God wants to occupy – so he wants them expressed and then abandoned.

Before you know it…

The answer to our prayers is often upon us without notice. Sometimes it is because we ceased to look for the answer any longer – we became weary in the battle, in the waiting. We turned our focus to other things and just ceased to lay those needs before him any longer. At other times, the answer may come upon us unnoticed because God moves in ways we did not think possible. We planned or schemed the answer one way – he answers in a completely opposite manner, or by means we would not have ever imagined. Still other times it is because we just could not expect the answer that quickly – God acts to provide the answer even before we even know we have the need.

God’s wholeness…

Prayer is an opportunity to exchange our hurt, defect, or lack of soundness for his wholeness. Hurt or injury suggests a lack of wholeness – he brings health. Impairment suggests an inability to function well – he brings order, clarity, and correct functioning.

Everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down…

In the midst of our worrying and fretting – when we feel the most eroded and agitated – we need the settling power of our God. Fretting and worrying both carried the meaning of agitation, rippling, or eroding. These are action words – they make a lasting effect. God comes in and settles us down. Agitation ceases – we are made quiet and orderly again – because the answer has become fixed or resolved. Maybe not seen, but definitely worked out by his plan.

You probably realize that peace settles…it does not come in a dramatic way. It settles upon us just as dust settles gently from the air surrounding us upon the surfaces of all we possess. Dust is often an unseen thing, until it is “built up” in such quantity that we can now write our name on the surface of the object upon which it has settled. God’s peace comes upon us in just such a manner – little by little, until it is substantial enough for us to see his name written in the peace. It impregnates each facet of our being until there is no more agitation, no more chafing, no more constriction. It brings an adjustment that gives balance once again.

Christ displaces worry at the center of your lives…

Worry captivates our thoughts, directs our actions, and influences the outcomes of our life. It takes over central place in our lives. That is why it is so important to cast those worries (in short order) upon God – so that he can be at the center of our lives.