As you may have seen from previous posts, I do better with schedules and plans. I also have to work to make sure that a ritual or a plan doesn’t become my master, but that it aids in my sanctification rather than tries to control it. For now, I have started a morning prayer that has blessed my heart tremendously. It has helped me in my days of worry or my particular struggles with health anxiety. You have every right to now ask:
What is this magic prayer?
Of course this prayer is not magic. But, one day I thought, You know, Jesus gave us this specific prayer. He wrote it out for us in His Word. He must think it’s awfully important.
So began my morning reciting of the Lord’s Prayer.
I want to give you a little glimpse into my head and how I think through this prayer. I have broken it down for those of you out there who are like me and like to see things in steps.
1. Our Father, who art in Heaven, HOLY is your name. The prayer begins proclaiming the holiness of God’s name. He is the sole possessor of such a name. He is the only one worthy enough to be called holy. I acknowledge His holiness.
2. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Do you know difficult this is to pray for a person who seeks control? Ultimately, my health anxiety stems from my intense desire to be in control of my life. To daily pray, Ok, God, YOUR will is more important than mine. Let it be done” is downright scary. I always pause a minute before saying those words and ask myself “do I believe them?” Some mornings, I boldly proclaim, “Yes, my God! YOUR will trumps mine!” And some mornings, I pray that portion and say, “YOU have to help me believe these words, God. Help my unbelief.” It’s no accident that before the famous words, “Cast all your cares upon Him, for he cares for you” come the words “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. (I Peter 5:6 paraphrased).” To pray that God’s will is more important than mine is to humble myself under His mighty hand and give him the control. It is a very difficult step for me.
3. Give me today what I need for today. I “modernize” this section. When I thought about the words, “Give us this day our daily bread.” I asked myself what that meant. Well, bread is what we need to sustain our lives. It is what we need to survive for today. I know when I wake up that I have food and clothing, so I am already a step ahead of most of the world. He is providing me with what I need and even more to survive the day. But, I also ask for sustenance in the spiritual warfare waging inside me for the day. I ask God to give me what I need to equip me for whatever temptations come my way today. To help me in my intense moments of worry or OCD. To not worry about what my needs will be tomorrow, but give me the grace for what I will need today. I write in more detail about this topic in my post, “Joy for Today.” I read a quote by Spurgeon the other day that was such a comfort to me:
“… many of God’s people are constantly under apprehensions of calamities which will never occur to them, and they suffer far more in merely dreading them than they would have to endure if they actually came upon them. In their imagination, there are rivers in their way, and they are anxious to know how they shall wade through them…these timid people are continually crossing bridges that only exist in their…fancies. They stab themselves with imaginary daggers, they starve themselves in imaginary famines, and even bury themselves in imaginary graves…”
I ask God to help me, for this day, to not succumb to the type of person written by Spurgeon. Grace for today and just hope for tomorrow.
4. Forgive me, and help me forgive others. If Jesus wanted us to base our prayers off of this format of the Lord’s Prayer, he must think confession of sins is important. I try to take a minute and think through what sins the Holy Spirit is laying on my heart and I confess those sins. Sometimes, I have a little bit of time to spend on this. Other times, I don’t, so I simply ask Him to forgive me for sins unknown. And I then ask for help to forgive others as He forgives me (ahem, this means truly forgiving my spouse and not just kind of forgiving him!)
5. Lead me away from temptation and deliver me from the evil one! You guys, Satan is so very real. He is daily out to get us. He wants us to fight with our spouses, to yell at our children, and he loves when I spend a whole day worrying. He loves watching my day go to waste with worries of tomorrows. We have the power of the Holy Spirit in our very bodies, yet how often do we tap into that Spirit? We can daily ask for deliverance from Satan’s prowlings and then we can rest in the fact that He will do what we ask!
6. For Yours is the kingdom. Yours is the power. Yours is the glory. Forever. The prayer closes with an acknowledgement once again of my lack of control, and God’s ultimate power! I want to memorize the following verse and add it into my prayer.
“Yours is the mighty power and glory and victory and majesty. Everything in the heavens and earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as being in control of everything.” I Corinthians 29:11
I love how the prayer begins and ends with the proclaiming of God’s power and holiness. And once again, I must relinquish control! It’s not my kingdom. It’s certainly not my power. It is all HIS!
So now, you may ask, “Umm. How in the world do you have the time to pray that in the morning?” You know, some mornings, I forget. Some mornings I pray it before I roll out of bed. Most mornings I pray it when I’m in the shower. Some mornings the prayer is quick, and some mornings it can be more detailed. Some mornings I only pray it for me, and some mornings I pray it for my husband too. It doesn’t have to look the same every day.
Also, my mind is a mystery. It fleets from one thing to the next. This used to bother me SO much when it came to praying. It made praying almost impossible because my mind could. not. be stable! I’m in the middle of praying and then all of the sudden I am working on my grocery list in my head? What in the?
A book I read entitled “A Praying Life” by Paul Miller helped me immensely with this struggle. Basically, the author said that it is OK that we struggle to keep our thoughts focused. When we have conversations with friends, do we stay focused? NO! We get easily distracted and have to guide ourselves back to the topic at hand. Some mornings I am asking God for the help to get through today and then my mind escapes to other things, and I simply lead it back to the next part of my prayer. Honestly, some mornings, I start praying and then wake up to realize that I never finished! Again, this is ok. HE knows we are human. He hears us in our scattered prayers and they are no less powerful than a neat, put together prayer.
This is something that has been helping me. Trusting and resting then in the power of what I have asked is the next step. Trusting that He will do what He promises. I hope it is something that can relieve a little pressure off the burdens of your heart as well!
After all, at the end of the day, it’s very good that I’m not in control.