Many years ago, I was taught a little formula for prayer which I tend to fall back on in my daily quiet time, just to get started. “PART” = Praise, Admit, Requests, Thanksgiving. Lately, the Thanksgivings have been a struggle. That sounds like our life has been hard, or like I’m feeling ungrateful, but that’s not it. Life has been good, and I’m full of gratitude. But my new perspective on how God works in our lives has also changed my perspective on my blessings.
I’m not sure that the things I’ve always thanked God for have been the blessings I thought they were. Comfort, ease, security . . . oh, I know – I have friends that will be throwing anti-jinx spells at me for talking like this. And I’m a bit fearful to tread this direction, also. But comfort, ease, and security are not the goal anymore.
If the goal is to become more like Jesus . . . to grow in my relationship to God . . . to put off the old self . . . to “break the outer man”, as Watchman Nee puts it . . . to become a person that God can work through to accomplish his work – well, comfort, ease, and security don’t get me there. Just like sitting comfortably on my sofa doesn’t melt the fat away. Fat-melting requires hard work and sweat.
My youngest is spending this week on a “local mission trip”, sleeping overnight at the church and going out to various service projects each day. She was very nervous; it’s the longest she’s been away from home by herself, and she didn’t really know anybody else going. It was hard to drop her off, because I keenly felt her fears and so wanted the pain to go away. I started praying for God to bring her a friend, for this to be lots of fun, for her to enjoy her week . . . and I still want those things. But something in my spirit stopped me and refocused my prayers. Lord, use this week to mold her. The discoveries, the excitement, the fun, the fulfillment -- AND the fears, the tiredness, the loneliness, the embarrassments, if they come. Use it all to make her the person you need her to be. And please, be close to her through it all.
Thank you, Lord, for the storms and the trials. I genuinely want to be molded.