Friday, June 28, 2013

Done Praying Things "Away"

It’s true.  I’m done.  If you added it all up, I’ve spent hours, days…maybe months (I’m not that young, you know) praying things away.

“God, take away my temptation! Make it go away!”

“Dear Lord in Heaven! You know my co-worker is hateful, make her hateful attitude disappear!”

“Sweet Jesus! Please, please, please take the pain away!”

Okay. Before everyone in the theological world (and I’m thinking not a ton of those people read my blog) go ballistic…I believe God can take anything away.  I also believe in the power He has to heal.  I’m one of those Holy Rollers.  God can do anything He wants.

But, when we pray for more of Him…well, can things that aren’t of Him truly stick around?


Has God taken my temptation?  Well, I sure have less in certain areas of my life than I used to.  Has God healed relationships with my co-workers or friends?  Sure.  Has He healed me before?  Miraculously. Goose bump stories, for real.

But, something I’ve been noticing is that even when He seems to “take things away,” I’m no more prepared to face the next bad thing that comes my way than I was before. And it’s not God’s fault. It’s mine.

You see, I’ve been praying all wrong.

Sure, I say things like, “Use this for Your glory, Lord.” But, what I’m really saying is, “Please make everything perfect – like I think it should be – and then I’ll be able to give you praise for all to see...with my fabulous life!” Ugh.

Look what I ran across last night…in my Bible.  Of all places. Good stuff. Go figure.

Paul says, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” Colossians 4:2-4.

Oh, boy.  Paul prayed for an open door for the message of the mystery of Christ. That supernatural love, forgiveness, power.  Notice he never once asked for anyone to pray that his chains would go away.

Con. Vic. Tion.

We all know, but hate to admit, that our icky life moments are when God shows up biggest and brightest.  The problem is that most of us would rather He just make everything perfect so that we could say to the world, “Look, I’m not in chains.  I’m living the easy life! Live for Christ and things are super!”

Paul was more concerned with doing God’s will. Paul was more concerned with God adding to him the strength he needed to deal with chains so that the Gospel could go forth…than he was with the chains disappearing.   

Paul knew God could use chains.

I love the good times. I could live on the mountain.  But, it will rain on all of us.  More than once.   There are those of us who experience frequent monsoons.

Some of the sin pulls I have will probably be jockeying for position in my life until the day I die.  But, if I’m praying for God’s open doors, His grace, His love, His power…those sin pulls will be pushed to the back corner of my heart’s room each and every time. And I do believe, there are times they are pushed out altogether.  No more room.

Some people will rub me the wrong way…all the days of my life.  But, if I’m praying for more of God’s grace in my life…and in theirs…well, how can human attitudes top that?

Some illnesses will wreck our mortal bodies…and all of us (let me channel my best Sunday School teacher voice here) “unless the Lord comes back first!” will succumb to death.  But, from the moment we asked God to come into our earthly lives…and yes, take away our sins…He began to build an eternal home for us.

We do ask for Him to take away our sins.  But, again…we also ask Him into our hearts.  We add Him. Can sin stay where He dwells?

I know this may seem like semantics.  So be it.

But, today…I’m going to focus less on the chains and more on the open door.

Are you praying for subtraction...or addition? Are you asking for the chains to go…or for the open doors to come?


  1. Thanks! It's a constant redirection of prayer for me, but God is so faithful!

  2. Im so happy about God opening doors. HE HAS opened many for Joel and I and we are thankful every day!

  3. He is so good in spite of us, isn't He?! I pray many, many more open doors for you two!!