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.

The Opportunity Cost of Running and Hiding

I wanted John to take me away, to distract me from my wretched selfish self, but there were pesky things like roofers coming, a tow truck on its way to haul the tractor in for a new engine, the windshield man coming to put a new windshield in John’s truck, and I don’t remember what all else. I didn’t get my way, whaaaaaaaaah!

I didn’t get my way,

So it’s come to this–time to pray.

Not getting what I asked for

Life is such a bore.

Artist’s pages reveal

The thief is here to steal.

He’s taught me well to doubt

It’s time to kick him out.

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I hope you will forgive and bear with my rhyming fun. What I meant by “Artist’s pages reveal” was that when I began to journal (Julia Cameron calls it writing “artist’s pages” in The Artist’s Way) I saw what the enemy (John 10:10 says he comes to steal, kill, and destroy) was up to, and where I was giving him access.

I just so happened to have, lying next to me on the couch, I Never Learned to Doubt by Jesse Duplantis. Yes, I realized, I am doubting, and it’s making me miserable and a misery. I did some heavy duty repenting and heart-cleansing, some delving deep into my heart attitudes and among other things I came up with this: I am not to run and hide from the misery of doubt. I am to root it out!

If John would have taken me out for breakfast it would have been quite expensive–the opportunity cost of doing the one thing (often what we think we need and certainly what we want) is what we miss via that choice. I would have missed a heart-cleansing, a joy refreshing, a time with the One who heals me.

“I came that you might have (and choose) life.” – Jesus, in John 10:10

praying baby
          Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.”  I believe that Mary was much more than we know, that she is a model, a pattern for emulating, and that in his hatred for her, Satan has twisted and snapped the threads of that life pattern for a tapestry of rhythm and grace.  He turns what God intends for life, into death.
          That is how I see abortion – the ultimate success for the ultimate woman hater.  We are endowed with the ability to create the ultimate masterpiece – a child.  We partner, as did Mary, with God, to make sons and daughters who can bring light to the darkness, beauty for ashes, healing for the broken. 
          My brokenness began with buying Satan’s lie that casual sex (no mating for life marriage commitment) is OK.  I had that unplanned pregnancy, the one where abortion was suggested.  I can only thank God and my heritage – not that of a Christian upbringing (which I didn’t have) but that of parents who loved me unconditionally, and who taught by example the preciousness of a child – for the existence of that child in the world today.  How glad I am that Mom and Dad were too unworldly, too “unsophisticated”, to buy the lie from Hell that children are expendable, that abortion is a solution to anything at all, ever.
          And so I sit in the middle of the night, pondering the angel’s words in Luke 1:28.  I do rejoice in the face of temporal stresses, heartaches, things not as I want them to be, children partaking of my past brokenness.  And yet, there is no denying it:  I am highly favored.  God has given me children, and He has shown my volatile and wayward heart over and over and over that He is with me.  I am blessed among women.
          And  therein lies the sadness.  There are too few women walking in my shoes.  I look around me, especially at church, and I want to wear a sign:  GOD DID THIS AND HE’LL DO IT FOR YOU, TOO!!!!  Years ago I looked around as a single mother, bereft of that ever-so-essential ingredient in a family – Daddy.  I looked at the women in church, the married ones, and wanted to know two things:  Is it real, and if it is, is it forever beyond my reach?
          The day finally came when I had the courage to believe, to trust, to call (loudly) on God.  “Lord,” I said, “I need a husband.  I don’t care if he’s tall or short, fat or skinny. I don’t care where he’s from or what he does for a living.  I just want a good, honest man who will love me like I am.”
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          Two weeks later, after a nine-year drought, God sent John.  John the Blessing, John the Family Man.  John who knew the value of a child.  John who God knew would heal my brokenness through the very love of Christ Himself abiding in John’s heart and being passed on to mine. 
          And John who would partner with God and with me to make a family, the most beautiful thing of all. Our children weren’t planned or affordable or convenient.  They were and are simply the greatest of all blessings, the highest of all honors and privileges, the gifts beyond all gifts. 
          And that, Dear Reader, is what you and I are to God.
          Rejoice, highly favored one.