Is your prayer life more about getting God to do your will or you to do His? I’ll be the first to admit that it’s much easier for me to pray about my preferences, priorities and plans than it is to say to my Heavenly Father, “nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.” Yet, there is nothing so freeing and fulfilling than to be right where God means for me to be doing right what God means for me to do. Prayer involves many things, but the most important thing is to request what we need to live for His Kingdom, not to secure what we need to build our own. Today, ask God to give what you need, to do what He wants.
The ultimate goal of our lives is for God to be honored in us and us to be happy in Him. There isn’t anything higher to aspire to than the duality of God’s honor and our happiness. When we thank Him, trust Him, and treasure Him, these two things are achieved. Thanking Him means our hearts are glad because of something He gets glory for doing. Trusting Him means we delight to do what God has decided because we believe that He is good. Treasuring Him means we find enjoyment in His companionship because He is infinitely worth knowing. To seek His honor is to seek our happiness.
Every single day you and I should do whatever it takes to be happier in Jesus. That’s how we win against temptation, frustration and dissatisfaction in this life. The attempts we make to improve ourselves, improve our circumstances, and improve our lives should not simply be about trying to take away things we dislike and add in things we do like. Instead, our goal should be to know and enjoy Jesus more and more and more. We grow in our inner peace, rest, security, confidence, hope and joy not because over and over we figure out a way to make things better, but because over and over we find our way to Jesus.
God delights to give His children the good things they ask from Him. Why then are there times when we don’t get what we want in life? One reason is simply that we aren’t asking Him for good things. That could mean that we aren’t praying at all, and we don’t get what we ask for because we aren’t asking. That could mean that we are praying, but what we are asking for isn’t good for us to get. Whether it’s the wrong thing, the wrong track, or the wrong time, God loves us too much to say “yes” to all of our requests that we would regret in the end. When He acts differently than we asked, it’s always an upgrade.
Admit it, some days are a blur. We wake up and it’s a nonstop rush throughout the day to not fall behind. You know what the cure is for being overwhelmed, worried and frustrated about the many things on our schedules? Making the right choice to spend unhurried, undistracted time with Jesus today so He can refresh us, reorient us and ready us for what He knows is coming next. It’s the most important part of our day, and it should have the most intentional part of our schedule, because it’s the most influential part of our lives. We’re not too busy to spend time with Him; we’re too busy not to spend time with Him.
How much authority does the Bible have in your life? How is it shaping the way you see the world, the way you see polarizing issues, and the way you see yourself? How fully and frequently do you rely on it as the final say in how you live? The Bible isn’t an out-of-date, out-of-order, out-of-touch book with no real relevance for us today. It is God’s Word that still speaks today telling us what is good and bad, right and wrong, true and false, beautiful and ugly, necessary and frivolous, wise and foolish. God intends for us to seek it out and live it out as the ultimate authority for the Christian life. Indeed, it is where life is found.
Crawling comes before walking. Planting comes before harvesting. Starting comes before completing. There is an order to things, and for followers of Jesus… Praying comes before doing. You and I often handle things backwards from how we should handle them by acting and then seeking God when we should seek God and then act. The best thing we can do to handle what we face in life is to seek our Heavenly Father before we do a thing more. We ask. He answers. We act. He assists. This is the only way to live happy, holy lives. Turning to Him shouldn’t be our last resort; it should be our first line of defense.
For genuine, growing Christians, our relationship with Jesus increasingly influences how we live. As we turn to the Bible and turn its pages, we learn of His good plans for us, His gracious promises to us, and His guiding presence with us. Only when we regularly read and respond to the Bible can we be who we were made to be and do what we were made to do. That’s why it is essential that we… Read it. Pray it. Live it. Share it. If your ultimate aim in life is to be as happy as you can and bring as much honor to God as you can, there is no substitute for the nourishing, encouraging, strengthening, transforming Scriptures.
There are many things that are true about prayer. One of them is this: prayer involves seeking what we need to do what God wants. We don’t talk to God in order to secure what we need to build our own kingdoms; we talk to God to request what we need to live for His kingdom. Prayer is not a hotline to heaven we use to override His will so He will give us what we think will make us happy; it is a lifeline to heaven we use to ask Him to show us His will and make us happy with what He gives us. If we want to pray for what is best for us, this is the prayer that never fails: Your will be done in my life as it is in heaven.
Followers of Jesus take steps of faith in our day-by-day “walk” with Him. Wherever He leads, we follow in the same direction, one step at a time. In loving obedience. With humble dependance. For a blessed experience. While there are many places we will go and things we will do, there are four basic steps that every Christian never stop taking until they follow Jesus all the way home: Pray. Read the Bible. Respond to what tells you. Help others do the same. This is how God is honored in us and we are happy in Him. Certainly we will take mis-steps along the way; but Jesus will never let us permanently lose our way.
There are certain rhythms of grace that will help us better experience the forgiveness, freedom and favor of God. These habits, disciplines and practices help us remember and rely on God’s generosity toward us in Christ. While there are many of them, there are four basic steps that give birth to the rest of them: Pray. Read the Bible. Respond to what God tells you. Help others do the same. This is how we better experience all that God means for us to have in Christ: we live in step with Him as we live out His plans for us. The best way to dive into the fountainhead of grace is to walk daily with the Giver of grace.