HEY! I'm Right Here

8:48 AMHeather

A couple weeks back, I blogged about how we Americans tend to use the word "just" in our prayers.  Frequently.  I must say, it has been an interesting exercise to try to break this habit and retrain my brain to ask God for MORE--and not "just."  And, it has caused me a lot of reflection on other phrases we tend to overuse in our prayers.  I find the Tim Hawkins bit on Christian-ese and phrases we say in our prayers hilarious.  If you aren't familiar with him, Tim Hawkins is a Christian comedian, and our family LOVES him.  He does this whole thing about how we say things like, "bless the hands that prepared it...just the hands, not the whole body."  Or, how about the way we pray "for a hedge of protection?"  Does the devil respond that we've learned his secret weakness--landscaping?

Although I laugh at this, the truth is that our prayers lives are serious business.  They are the lifeline to staying connected to our Heavenly Father.  And, the sad reality is that we do tend to repeat these phrases and cliches out of tradition and habit, rather than pursuing an honest and direct dialog with our Abba.  So, I've been pondering some other ways that I need to challenge myself in regard to my prayer life and conversation with God.

One particular habit I am trying to break is that of asking God to be with me.  You know, we pray that all the time--for ourselves and for others.  With today being the first day of school, it is generally my habit to pray like this, "Lord, just be with my kids as they go to school."  Or like yesterday when a Life Group member shared how her father is dealing with cancer.  We might pray that God would be with him through that chemotherapy.

Duh.  News flash.  God IS with them.  I can picture him shaking his head and sighing as he says, "HEY!  I am RIGHT HERE!"  He promises!

The LORD himself goes before you 
and will be with you
he will never leave you nor forsake you
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  
Deuteronomy 31:8

It's kinda like sitting with a friend at lunch and inviting them to lunch.  HELLO!  As I've thought through this, I've come up with this alternative--because I think it really gets to the heart of the matter.  How about asking Him to give us EYES to see how He is with us?  Or pleading with Him to remove the distractions so that we FEEL and KNOW He is near?  Ears to hear His still small voice?  Or as we intercede for others, ask that He would manifest His presence through the words and touch of those around that person so that they are blessed with those "love notes" of His constant presence?  What about asking Him to blow our minds and touch our hearts with an overwhelming awareness of the ways He is working on our behalf?

INTENTIONAL challenge:  The older I get, the more importance I place on authenticity and genuineness.  I'm growing ever weary of the masks we wear or the rote things we do simply because we always have.  My hunger for a deep, authentic, no pretenses relationship with my Lord and with others is growing as I age.  And, thus, I am reflective of those ways I want to change.  I have learned through my years of Bible study (thanks, Beth Moore, for being used by God) that praying God's word is probably one of the most powerful ways we can transform our prayer lives.  So, how about you  join me in praying this verse that I came across today?  Instead of asking God to be with us or others--what if we pray this:

He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel.
Psalm 103:7
Lord, make your ways and deeds KNOWN to us today, so that we can know with no doubt that you are indeed with us, as you promised us you would be!

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