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If We Prayed Honestly

AUDIO VERSION


Dear God,


What I really want is an easy life. Just enough of a challenge for me to feel like I'm still doing something significant, but not enough to wear me down or make me feel like giving up.


No wait, I don't really want to just feel like I'm doing something significant. I do actually want to have a real impact. I want to make a difference. But, I don't want it to hurt, or cost me too much, or require that I sacrifice my best of anything. (I do like my stuff).


Wait, I kind of do want to sacrifice my best actually, as long as whatever is leftover is still quite enough for me—with a little cushion to boot. But if I do sacrifice, please let me see the good result of my spiritual investment right away. OK, maybe not RIGHT AWAY. But soon enough that I don't get discouraged. I know it's supposed to be a faith-journey that I'm walking, but You know... sometimes faith is REALLY hard. Seeing is way more appealing to me than just believing.


Let's see. What is it that I really need here. I do actually realize and know that I do need You. But then, I already have You! And I'm not taking that for granted. And I know that You're enough. But I would like a good circle of people too; people I can trust and depend on. People who will trust me like I trust them. And would You please keep us close to each other. But not too close. I do need my space; kind of like when Jesus went up into the mountain alone to pray. Of course, I would prefer that You help me find my secluded mountaintop in the recliner in my living room.


I want good health, financial security, and a safe neighborhood. Also, it would be really nice to have some beautiful things around me to make each day brighter and more cheerful. But not too much beauty, because then someone might try to take it away from me. Or, they might misunderstand me or think ill of me. You know I worry quite a bit about what people will think. If I'm being honest, I do want to be liked and admired. Don't let that go too far, of course. Too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing, or so I've heard. The pressure of an abundance of friends, fans, and followers would surely be too much to bear. And, there is that fear I have of letting people down, so mostly I don't want them to even notice me. Just enough that I don't get lonely.


There are bigger things to pray for, I know. World peace, and putting an end to privation and hunger... those things would be super great. As long as it doesn't cut too much into my personal supply of wealth and convenience, I'd love to be a part of helping folks out.


And then there's the eternal and mystical spiritual stuff too: like getting the gospel to the ends of the earth and such. That's a big deal. I know that. I feel it. Admittedly, I also fear it. I fear leaving familiar territory; fear talking to strangers; fear challenging friends and family. Come to think of it, there are a lot of things that I fear. Should I pray that those fears would disappear; or maybe better, that I will have the courage to face those fears so I can do what is right even when I'm afraid?


Speaking of doing right, I certainly do want to do right. A guilty conscience is no fun at all. I've learned that by experience. But why does doing right almost always have to be so hard do; so costly; so demanding. Why can't it be as easy as eating cookies? I know that's ridiculous, but I'm just telling the truth here. The right thing is normally the difficult thing. It's very frustrating.


My prayer would be neither honest nor complete if I didn't take the time to apologize, first for this very prayer. Reading this prayer, one should conclude that I think I'm the center of the universe. I do have a sense of how terrible narcism truly is. On the other hand, there is nobody that I know as well as I know myself. It's difficult to know what to pray about for others. I guess I need some serious help paying closer attention to the needs of people around me. Lord, teach me to be attentive. Although, come to think of it, almost every time I've ever tried being attentive the burden has become very heavy very rapidly.


This brings me to some of my other failures. I need lots of forgiveness. Or do I? The things that bother my conscience are mostly things for which You've already forgiven me. I mean, the list of my violations of your law is truly very long; extremely long. For sure, I'm a big sinner. Very big. The worst. And I'm quite capable still of doing awful things. And I do fail you often. I fail to do the right things, and in place of those right things I actually do the wrong things. But, I also know that you keep forgiving me. I really love that verse that says "...Your mercies are new every morning," because my temptations are also new every morning.


Perhaps I should stop. The things that are currently on my mind are so shallow and selfish. I would like to be handsome and in shape (without having to work for it, of course). I want a yellow Corvette too. Or maybe not. Maybe I just like the idea of having one. Seems like actually having one would bring more problems than solutions.


You know Lord, come to think of it. I really do agree with the Apostle Paul. We don't know what to pray for like we should. At least I don't. If your Spirit doesn't speak for me, there's no chance that I'll ever pray in line with your will and purpose.


Help. Just help.


And, You know something... maybe for the first time ever I truly realize fully that this prayer must be offered to you in the name of Your Son, Jesus. I have no right to demand anything from You; no right to even request anything. Shoot, on my own I've got no right to even speak to You. But I am SO THANKFUL that You have invited me to do so, and that Jesus has made a way for me to speak to You any time. All the time, if I would.


Well, I guess that's all for now. I'll be back later. I'll probably say mostly the same things again (unless I revert to vain repetitions). It's ironic that whether I pray ritualistically, or sincerely, I still end up repeating myself either way. I'm not very creative really. Not that you need me to be creative. You know everything anyway.


Amen.


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