“I have now concentrated all my prayers into one, and that one prayer is this, that I may die to self, and live wholly to Him.” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon
That IS concentrated prayer.
Oh, the intentions of a heart that earnestly utters these sincere words to God! No hint of fear or worry. Full surrender. Everything on the altar.
Why don’t we always pray like this?!
Sometimes we’re consumed by the things of this world. Sometimes we’re devoured by daily life. Sometimes we just feel so defeated. We talk to God all day about what’s going wrong in our personal world – with our family, our friends, our marriage, our kids, our job, or lack of any or all of these – and how we think things could improve. By the end of this “decade–long” day, we crawl into bed exhausted, full of turmoil and unrest. But we’re not done yet, nothing has been resolved emotionally. We have this deep inner need to bend God’s ear for a lengthy play by play – the unedited, extended cut laundry list of daily problems – drawing out the detailed circumstances and desired outcome of each one for Him again!
This is self-absorption at its best!
Oh, if we could only shift our focus! If we could only come to our senses and realize – WHO HE IS! [Um, like, HELLO! This is God, the Creator of the universe!] He is already there, He already knows! He is always innumerable steps ahead of us. He’s worked out every problem. He knows every solution! He for sure knows everything long before we do but we act like the opposite is true. We hash out all the details again and again, as if He needs to know for maybe…just one. more. time!
He who created everything by His Word. He who called the world into existence. He who is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He who sees all, He who knows all!
We’re talking about God, I mean, really?! What problem could we solve by pondering and what-if’n everything that God doesn’t already have a solution for? What detail could our dim eye or limited mind notice that could escape Him? What could we possibly add to His omniscience or omnipotence? [Yeah, we will wait, like forever, and…crickets! We add exactly nada, zip, zilch.]
We know this stuff, right?
You’d think we wouldn’t be anxious or fretful about anything, right?
Sometimes, the things we face seem hard and we have a momentary lapse of mind. We forget and worry. We become self-focused instead of God-focused but then (hopefully in a white-hot-second) we come to our senses and remember Who He Is!
- He is GOD of the universe!
- Creator, Sustainer!
- Almighty God!
Phillippians 4 holds an affirming reminder:
Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
So, while the Bible is clear that it is good to make our requests known to God, things go wrong when we are fretful or anxious about those requests and concerns or if we ask with a wrong motive. And if we’re worrying, then we completely miss the act of thanksgiving. And, even more wrong than that, we essentially block the peace that God provides to guard our heart and mind through Christ Jesus because we are not being obedient to His Word. We step outside of His Will and feed the worry instead of the peace.
When we are pressed thin on all sides, feeling weary and war-torn by the cares of this world. When the day to day struggles of this life are too heavy to bear. When we’re desperate and anxious to cry out to God for a cure to a thousand worries. That’s when self-focused, long-winded, overly dramatic, empty ramblings pour forth in our prayers. The whirlwind of anxiety and worry spin out of control. The damage they create leaves our hearts tattered, our knuckles white, and our minds frazzled.
Not all prayers need to be short and sweet, just like not all long, dramatic prayers are self-focused or empty ramblings – see Psalm 119 for a perfect example of a really long God-focused prayer.
But when we shift our focus off ourselves and onto God, we humbly pray that we die to self and live wholly for HIM! The mere thought of our justification and sanctification is enough to turn our worry-prone thoughts to the One who gives us peace. When we are rightly focused on Him, oh, how our cares fade! Oh, how the peace invades! How can we fret over anything when we know who holds us securely in the palm of His hand? Oh, how that shifts our perspective – our entire being – to True North – to God!
So, are you going to feed the worry or the peace?
Let’s pray: Oh, LORD, may Your bride be completely surrendered to You – our True North. May Your Will be our will. May the cares and worries of this world pale in comparison to Your Great Glory. Oh, LORD, we believe, help our unbelief! Help us feed the peace and stand firm in our faith! Help us always remember Who You are! Help us consciously focus our thoughts and hearts on You – the rightful King and Lord over all – and make us more like You. Help us be obedient to Your Will. Renew and transform our hearts and minds through the saturation of Your Word. Illuminate our lives with Your presence and remove anything from us that does not bring You glory or does not further Your Kingdom. As we seek You out, as we draw closer to You, as our prayers are rightly concentrated and focused upon You, let us not be overwhelmed and anxious but our hearts and minds be guarded and filled with Your peace in Christ Jesus that surpasses all understanding. May we may cry out in humble sincerity to die to self and live wholly for You. Take all that we are Lord – it is Yours. In the Precious Name of Jesus Christ, we pray. AMEN.
Sweet Soul, may you abide in His peace as you live a life concentrated on Him, ever focused on Who He is!
God bless you today and always!
Jennifer – I Give God All The Glory