Begging is not Praying

I turned 63 at midnight and have been praying ever since. I can’t stop. Each time I try and think I’ll go to sleep, I start again. But let us back up. I keep using that word, “praying” and I do not think it means what you (maybe) think it means. My friend said it’s time to stop praying and start declaring and decreeing according to the Word, according to the promises, of God.

I thought that was part of prayer. Well, so does she, but in response to the unbelieving begging done by her prayer group, she’s defining prayer as do they: a begging of an unpredictable God. This, my dearest reader, is a mixing of covenants.

Unless and until you believe and receive what Jesus gave/accomplished on the Cross, you will never walk in victory, you will never pray the fervent, effectual prayers of a righteous man. “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness.”

Begging and hoping God might be in a good mood, that you might be “good enough” to get a good outcome, is not righteous behavior. Going around parrotting the evil report that “God is sovereign” as a cop-out, rather than standing fearlessly in faith come Hell or high water, is not righteous behavior. “Sovereign” is another one of those words you (maybe) keep using and which does not mean what you think it means.

Praying a paltry begging prayer from a heart full of pride and unforgiveness rather than from a confident heart–one cleansed via the childlike acceptance of the free gift of Jesus’ shed blood at Calvary–isn’t pious, it isn’t effectual, it isn’t righteous. It is selfish.

It is thinking that it’s so much all about you that you’re going to ignore the gift of the blood of Jesus. So, like my friend’s prayer group ladies, you can meet all day and all night and beg and beg and cry and cry for God to “do something” but until you receive and believe what He’s already done, you’re wasting your time.

Pathetic, paltry, lily-livered Christianity has got to go. It’s time to man-up, trust, and obey. And it’s time to stop believing lies of so-called “spiritual authorities” and just believe God. Jesus said to love and pray for our enemies; He said to trust and obey; over and over and over He said, “Fear not.” He said if we’d humble ourselves He’d heal our land. He said John 10:10. He said we have what we say. But He never said to beg.

Love is Success, Success is Love

I appreciate Grant Cardone because so much of what he wrote in The 10X Rule applies to success in the most important thing of all: family. “Pretend,” he writes, “you’re being recorded as a model by which your children and grandchildren will learn how to succeed in life.”

If you’ve read this blog for very long, you know I define success a little differently than most people–something like, “Success is being free from the approval of others, from the tyranny of selfishness. Success is being a homemaker.” It can also be being a butcher, baker, or candlestick maker, as long as in that role we are also the one who doesn’t pass by on the other side when we see the opportunity to give, the opportunity to sacrifice.

(I must pause here to say you don’t impress God when all your giving is done outside your family, and all you have left for them is impatience and unkindness. And judgment.)

Back to sacrifice–WE ARE MADE FOR IT! What story is better than that of the Good Samaritan who “took pity” on the half dead man? I’ll tell you one that is as good, but first a word about the Good Samaritan. He was on his way to somewhere and it was not in his plan, on his calendar, or convenient for him to stop. He was likely a man of affairs and means, as evidenced by his leaving the man at the inn, promising to be back, and promising to pay any and all costs. The innkeeper trusted him and I think that was because people who take the time to help others at great inconvenience to themselves–people who sacrifice–are trusted.

Now for another good story: Once upon a time there were scores and scores of women who “took pity” on their husbands and children, and cared for them, without access to success gurus, social media, nannies, new SUVs or throw-away diapers. They had to lean on the Helper, the One Who (if we will let Him) sticks closer than a brother.

In making such sacrifices they raised children also willing to sacrifice. They were rich inside.

We are created in the image of the God of Sacrifice, and apart from a life of sacrifice, we cannot ever be whole.

This is not a call to return to the “good old days” of twelve diapers and no washing machine, or of no central heating and running water, or having nowhere to go if married to a brute. In America, because of the sacrifices of those who came before us, we live in such a lovely world as regarding physical conveniences and social supports, but not one so lovely when it comes to sacrifice.

It’s time to not only be willing to sacrifice and give, but to be on the lookout for opportunities for doing so. And if you have the immeasurable privilege of having people living in your own house for whom you can sacrfice, it’s time to give thanks, not complaints. Just remember this when the doubts and self-pity come in like a flood: your reward is guaranteed, even if not immediately seen.

If you don’t believe me, read the New Testament. If you don’t believe that, you’re doomed–to the misery of a life without sacrifice.

Not About Me, Not About You

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 It’s about us, and “us” includes our author, and a mighty fortress is our God!

I don’t know how it happened, but we, John and I, got crossways this morning.  Over money.  Sort of.  Maybe.

Or maybe it was about deeper issues, like his need to “get excited about giving” (his words) and mine to “get excited about saving.”  Seems pretty straightforward – we balance each other, help each other.

Or, as is the case when Satan gets his way, our differences become his strengths.  Our filters came into play: mine that says any miser can save and money is to be shared and enjoyed; his that says any imbecile can spend and money goes in the bank where it belongs.

Ideally, we put both these filters where they belong–in the trash, and seek God’s word on every aspect of money.  Better still, we simply seek God, and as always when we do, these things looming so large and untenable, become quite insignificant.

I am quiet inside, basking in revelation upon revelation:  John wasn’t mad at me, he was frustrated and rightly so; his personality and background are not something I have to be frustrated about, as God has shown that even when Satan gives it his best shot, it only turns to our good; I am going to start a savings victory booklet beginning with the book I asked the library to get for me, rather than ordering it ($17.00 saved).  After that comes the burritos for tonight that I’m making homemade salsa for, rather than running to the store for salsa and no doubt much more (easy $15.00 saved).  I think again of how God heard and answered my (and no doubt John’s) prayers and rejoice that in Him, even mistakes are not really mistakes, just opportunities to grow and kick the enemy in the teeth.  Always and in all things, He seeks and delivers our good.

It is SO much our good for me to realize that any discord between us, two people He decreed to be one flesh, grieves His heart.  I don’t like pain, I REALLY don’t like hurting John, but when it comes to grieving our Lord, I’m simply not going there again.

I heard my worst self muttering (out of John’s hearing) “If you want to be a (you fill in the blank), fine. Two can play that game, and I’m better at it than you are.”  That’s right.  I am.  What an accomplishment, right?  I repented of my sorry attitude only to go right back there with more nonsense not worth sharing or remembering.

But the good news continues, taking precedent over the bad, as I choose and decree it to be so.  Things to be quite glad about:  I didn’t say ugly things to John.  I recognized their source and repented over and over.  I chose forgiveness.  I prayed God would handle it (and of course, He did).  Each time I was tempted to revisit John’s words, I spoke aloud:  “Love does not EVEN consider a wrong suffered.”

“I will trust in You.  I will trust in You.  Amen.”

P.S.  I will re-read my book, The Maker’s Marriage, and suggest you do the same if you recognized yourself in any part of this post.  Thanks so much for letting me share with you.