Monday, June 27, 2011

Afraid to Pray & Soli Deo Gloria

Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria, whether it's your first time here or your 25th.  Basically, we are a community of women that seek to encourage, support, love each other with our words.  It's a fun party and I love hosting you here each week.  If you would like more information about this community, please click here.  Just a note:  Please don't feel that you have to visit every single person that links up.  We are all on a time budget.  That being said, I do invite you to pray and ask God which blogs to visit simply because there may be words for you left in that place or words that God has given you to share to those specific people.  Also, if you would like to be on the email list for reminders and the occasional prayer request, please let me know if the comments.  Blessings to everyone!
Confession:  I've not fully invested myself in my prayer life.


Oh, don't get me wrong.  I pray.  I intercede.  I've read the Bible.  I know it works.  And yet, I think I've come down on the side of, "Well, God's going to do what He's going to do.  Who am I to try to change His Mind?"  


But really, I think my doubt in the full power of prayer all stems from this selfish fear of rejection (and maybe even some laziness, since I'm already being honest).  If I don't get too invested in what I'm praying for, if I keep my desires close to my chest, if I claim some nonchalance about the whole endeavor, I protect myself from rejection, from being told "no."  


Last weekend, Craig and I went to San Antonio for our 11 year anniversary.  We stayed at the JW Marriott, just as we did last year.  Except this time, our balcony didn't come with the chairs that I absolutely sunk into last year.  A chair is a chair, you might think.  And yet, if you had sat in this chair before, you wouldn't be able to settle for anything less.  Normally, I would never, ever call down to the front desk and ask for another chair.  Why?  Because I wouldn't want to be told "no." I wouldn't want to risk the embarrassment, the rejection.  I wouldn't want people to think something like, "What a preposterous notion!"


So, I sat on the bed and weighed my options.  What would cause me the greater pain:  having my request turned down or not trying to get the chair I had been imagining myself in since the day I booked the reservation a month ago?  Before I could talk myself out of it, I punched "0" on the phone.  And I asked in my best cheery voice.  And what did the front desk man say?


"We'll send one right up."


Now, granted, God will not give me a "yes" on everything I ask because, frankly, I don't always ask for the best things.  And yet, if I never ask, or if I ask with only a half-invested heart, what fullness might I miss?  If I never ask, and in some cases, if I never ask repeatedly, I'm not letting God into my heart fully. I'm holding back simply because I'm afraid. And yes, God already knows me inside and out, but oh how He cherishes the act of laying it bare for Him.


My plan is to actively ask God, and ask Him frequently, for the desires of my heart so to get me over the fear of rejection while at the same time holding on to the knowledge that He does know best.  If He does say "no," I'll know it's for a good reason.  On the other hand, if He doesn't say anything, I'll keep praying.  I'll keep persevering in the Spirit, discerning the things to which He is calling me to my knees.


Alright, go link and encourage!

36 comments :

  1. And this is where you have it:

    "My plan is to actively ask God, and ask Him frequently, for the desires of my heart so to get me over the fear of rejection while at the same time holding on to the knowledge that He does know best. If He does say "no," I'll know it's for a good reason."

    I believe this, Jen. I really do.

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  2. You know He did say, you do not have because you do not ask! He is aware of everything we need, and even the ones that we do not voice out loud.

    Happy Anniversary Jen...May Our Lord continue to bless your union.

    Maria

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  3. Jen, thank you so much for the 'real' glimpse. I have been there! I remember so clearly sitting in a leadership meeting at a church with people who were new to me, and the discussion of prayer came up. Prayer and faith really. Even though it was six years ago and though I don't remember his exact words, I remember so clearly the man who said it ... and exactly how I felt after he said it. He stated it so matter of fact, "You have not because you ask not. God tells us to come to Him believing we have received it."

    Well if that didn't stir up all kinds of crazy emotions in me, I don't know what else would! It has been a journey of learning and growing and surrender, and I don't think I'll ever 'get there' this side of heaven, but I am so thankful for the journey God has brought me on when it comes to prayer and faith.

    I'm praying for you as you wrestle and surrender and lean on Him. My biggest encouragement would be to be in the Word. I know you are, but I don't think we can encourage each other too much. D. L. Moody wrote:

    "If we read the Word and do not pray, we may become puffed up with knowledge, without the love that buildeth up. If we pray without reading the Word, we shall be ignorant of the mind and will of God, and become mystical and fanatical, and liable to be blown about by every wind of doctrine..."

    We know that "faith comes from hearing the Word..." If we are to pray in faith, how could we ever separate His Truth from our prayers! So glad you're joining us on the pray Truth journey. I'm praying it will change us!

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  4. We need to keep persevering in the Spirit, discerning the things to which He is calling us to our knees. Amen to that!

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  5. This was so beautiful, and brought tears to my eyes. Such a good example to encourage us to boldly ask for what is on our hearts. It reminds me of how it makes us as parents feel when our children are bold enough to share with us what is on their hearts. Thank you ...

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  6. Happy anniversary! And thank God he does not give us everything we ask for!!! If he did, I would not have my kiddos, I would not have my husband, I would not have my life, because I always think I know just what I "want" but God knows what I "need"

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  7. We are so on the same page this week, Jen! Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find!

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  8. I think GOD really wants us to get this, because both you and Michelle received it!

    Love that you were brave and had a special chair sent up:)

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  9. Ah, yes...the wrestling with the whole prayer thing. We've all been there, one way or another. And asking is what we're told in scripture to do. We're also told to rest, to sit quietly in God's presence, to hold before our God the desires of our hearts and to ask that our very desires conform to the Spirit who is at work within us with 'groans and sighs.' Words or silence - it's all prayer, it's all what and where we need to be. Have you ever done any centering prayer? It's a lovely, freeing, calming and yes - centering thing to do. Check it out... Diana @ http://drgtjustwondering.blogspot.com

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  10. Hi Jen. I love what you say here about prayer. I also am overly cautious, because I feel maybe God does not want me to have it and I'm holding out for something He doesn't want me to have because its not His will for my life... and so round and round I go!
    We have to keep praying, His word says so and as we mature - He'll show us how - but I think He loves that we try and of course, He knows our hearts. God's word does say that He will give you the desires of your heart. I believe as we seek His will, if our desires are off centre - He will change them without us even knowing - until when we re-evaluate our desires we no longer want certain things.
    God bless
    Great post and I love Soli Deo Gloria and all the lovely blogs I've found there.
    Tracy

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  11. Hi Jen! I found your blog from the comment you left on Patti's blog. I feel like a door has been opened for me to a world full of believing women! How amazing that God saves certain things for certain times in our lives! I've read and followed many blogs over time but now, just as I need it most, I'm discovering pages full of blogs written by women who have God at the centre of their lives. I've signed up here now and continue to say thank you to God! Your message about prayer has clearly hit home with many other people as well - amazing how we share so many fears/doubts! Thank you for sharing!

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  12. I think you addressed so very well a little nagging reason that we neglect to pray for something. We are afraid of the "no" as if that "no" has any bearing on our status with or greatness of the Giver.

    Excellent, Jen. I do have something to link up this week, but I took comments off of it. I hope that's OK.

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  13. Happy Anniversary! I love the analogy you shared with the chair you wanted and your prayer life.

    I can related, but I find that I don't always ask, not so much out of fear of rejection, but because I convince myself that my problems aren't nearly as important as the mother in Africa who can't find clean water for her children. Granted, that mother's life puts mine in perspective, but I'm missing out on an intimate relationship with God if I don't share with Him the desires of my heart.

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  14. It is such a struggle, being that open and vulnerable before God. And yet He does know both what we want and what we need before we even ask. I'm learning to think of prayer more as conversation, offering up my heart-felt desires and learning that God is perfectly capable of conforming them toward what is good for me.

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  15. I can relate to this post. I hate getting my hopes up about things in life and then having the let down feeling if it doesn't come to fruition. But I need to remind myself that God is God and definitely knows what is best for me. My prayers need to be bolder. Thanks.

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  16. Jen - this is a lovely analogy of "you have not because you ask not."

    I am one who certainly needs my prayer life strengthened.

    Blessings,
    Joan

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  17. We have not because we ask not, we ask not because we ask amiss. I'm glad you're chair request wasn't asking amiss.

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  18. I loved this post.
    I was thinking yesterday as I was driving about the range of things that I pray for throughout the day...for the heart of the little guy attending VBS with our crew...to the-going-away-of-the-strange-lights-that-should-not-be-lit on our van's dashboard.
    I think He wants to hear from us in all this.
    Happy anniversary and thank you for always putting my eyes back on Him through your writing.
    Side note--I'm half way through Paul Miller's book..."A Praying Life" and it's excellent.

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  19. I am with you girlfriend, right there with you!

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  20. Happy moments, praise God.
    Difficult moments, seek God.
    Every moment, thank God.

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  21. Such a good reminder about prayer. I find myself so lacking in this area. Prayer is so powerful so why don't I do it more often? Good words here to think about.

    And the Other Nut and I just got back from San Antonio on father's day weekend. I love that place! So glad you asked for your chair-it was a good reminder about asking God.

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  22. what if I never asked? boy - has this been a lifelong hinderance for me..not just with God but with people. Just asking...like you - what if they said no! I have such anxiety about asking people things..like at restaurants, stores etc. Now God - asking Him..this is something I am practicing much lately. I'm glad you asked and received your chair! Now just imagine what God can give when we ask...:)
    xo

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  23. Love your post today, Jen! When we ask, we are acknowledging His power and sovereignty over our lives. It is a humble act, I think, to go to Him and pour out the desires of hearts. Not demanding our own way but sharing our lives with Him. Just a thought :)

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  24. Guilty. Yes, this resonates. Can I trust Him to handle it all? And trust His answer? Trying. So hard.

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  25. It is easy for me to forget His faithfulness and His desire to answer. I can look back at many times that I have prayed and simply asked for what was needed at the time, and He answered. Thank you for this reminder. I needed it today.

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  27. I love the idea of this group. I just found you (through Amy Sullivan's blog) and don't have anything this week. I hope to get on board soon.

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  28. This is so where I am right now. I have so much faith for others, but for myself I feel like I don't deserve what I'm asking for. Don't pray enough, read my Bible enough, love enough, care enough...all the enoughs. I can spout off about who I am in Christ, but my prayer actions speak louder than my words. Thanks for helping to put it into words -- now I need to talk to the Lord about it. Thank you for allowing the Lord to speak through you.

    Blessings,
    Pamela

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  29. I am reminded of a lesson I had in church about praying to pour out your heart to God, not just thanking him or asking him for his mercies, but just being with him. Prayer is so powerful, and has gotten me through so much.

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  30. He's got the whole world in His hands! Once we pray, the next prayer should be a prayer of thanksgiving that He is now working on bringing that answer that we just asked for. Great Post and a lot to consider and commit to.

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  31. I read Devote yourselves to prayer in the study on Colossians that I am doing. Devoted to prayer -- three very convicting words. Something needs to change in my life!!

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  32. "...God already knows me inside and out, but oh how He cherishes the act of laying it bare for Him."

    Love that!

    So glad you got your chair! I, too, hesitate to ask, and sometimes just don't want to the aggrivation, or the risk of being told no. I've never thought of how that translates into my prayer life.

    Good words to think on. So glad I found this group! Food for my soul.

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  33. I hear you. It is easy to doubt that He would consider even the littlest things. Yet, he does! And so right you are, "He cherishes the act of laying it bare for Him." Great post!

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  34. Oh Jen! I'm behind in getting here to read and comment, but I'm SO GLAD I did get here!! You have articulated this so well and put such a loving touch on my own prayer pulse lately. Thank you so much for reminding me to press in, ask more (not out of greed, but out of reliance!), and to trust always!!

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  35. Great post...thanks for sharing and encouraging. Perhaps I can come back soon to link up :)

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