A Just Cause

9:17 PMHeather

Recent conversations with our friends, Jake and Suzanne, have been so fascinating to us.  They just came off the mission field after two years in France.  And, how we love that darling "souvenir" they brought home, baby Asher.  We are also loving our chance to return the baby sitting favors for all the years both Suzanne and Jake have thus far invested in our little sweeties.

Chris and I are both intrigued by the insight and revelations that our friends gained from their time overseas.  I am of the firm belief that we Americans tend to be so egocentric that we are lacking in a global awareness.  So, I could sit for hours listening to what was learned from living among the French. For instance, a few weeks ago, Jake told us how frequently Americans tend to use the word "just" in our prayers.  He never noticed this, of course, until someone in France pointed it out to him.  He broke the habit while there, and was startled upon his arrival home to the States when he noticed this with fresh perspective.

Ever since then, the use of the word "just" in prayers has stood out to me like a sore thumb.  And, as always, it got me thinking.  I think I've about decided that this may be a reflection of a very deep problem.   In my own prayer life, I think it shows how I tend to box God in and shrink him down.  In other words, I only believe Him for a tiny something--not the whole thing.

Something like this:
"Dear Lord, I just come to you and ask that you bless our Life Group time today.  Just help us to see you in a new way, and just meet us here.  In Jesus name, A-men."

I might as well be saying this:
"Dear Lord, I will only come to you and ask that you bless our Life Group time today.  Only help us to see you in a new way, and it's okay if you only meet us here.  In Jesus name, A-men."

But, why not this?
"Dear Lord, I seek you and plead with you today that you bless our Life Group time today in ways that you never have.  Don't just let us see you in a new way, but blow our minds with fresh insight that changes who we are.  Don't just meet us here--connect with our hearts in life changing ways!  In Jesus name, A-men."

Why are we so polite and formal with God that we feel we can only ask "just" for some tiny thing?  Why are we so timid that we ask but with a "just" clause--like a loophole to let God off the hook.  Aren't we instructed to "approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16)?  Are our prayer lives a reflection of our willingness to keep our relationship with God safe and on the surface?  Does it prove our willingness to live a polite and mediocre faith?  The kind of faith that never challenges, never pushes, never offends, and never gets radical?

I wonder what would happen if we all sought to break the habit of asking the Lord for "just" [fill in the blank]?  What if we pour out our hearts in deep-on-our-knees pleading?  What if we quit being polite with God but started being real?  What if we truly did approach the throne of grace with the kind of confidence that might better be described as storming the Throne Room of heaven?  What if we didn't just ask God to give the doctors wisdom but we begged and pleaded in a prostrate position for the health and well being of our loved ones?  What if we laid ourselves out and let the Spirit intercede for us with groanings too deep for words--allowing ourselves to truly feel the anguish of this ministry of the Spirit, sitting quietly in the uncomfortable moment? 

INTENTIONAL challenge:  I am challenging myself to eradicate the use of the word "just" in my prayers.  I am challenging myself to ask the Lord for MORE, for ALL that is on my heart.  I am challenging myself to quit being so polite, so formal with my Lord.  I am challenging myself to quit being timid but to get BOLD in my prayer life--to get REAL and to truly believe Him for more than the "just" or "only" in life.  I triple dog dare you to "just" join me in my just cause.

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