when prayer becomes striving

Breakfast on the porch.

Plain, tart yogurt mixed with fresh lemon juice, hemp/flax oil, local honey, and a sprinkle of oatmeal topped with pecans. It’s delicious (and you should probably try it).

I lean back on the rocking chair and sigh because this autumn morning is perfect. Then the cat comes.

“Why do you just come when I have food? Seriously, why don’t you just let me pet you, isn’t that enough?” And yes, I talk to cats. Exactly like that.

The cat, which shall remain unnamed to protect its precious privacy, tries to get at my breakfast bowl, fails, feels defeated, and then slinks away.

Who knew a cat could remind you of an important truth
(Those who know me will probably understand I’m very excited to finally have an excuse to post a cat picture on my blog. I like cats and know I will probably lose a handful of friends over this.)

Then I realize that God has given me a picture. That’s what I’ve been doing lately…coming to God wanting something He can give me, not to “just be” with Him. Lately, I’ve been kind of like my cat…food over hugs.

There are things that desperately need to be prayed about and my time with God has been centered in on those things. Let me clarify, there’s nothing bad about that. Jesus longs for us to come with things we have been called to pray about or burdens we need to release; however, if that’s all we’re coming to Christ for…we’re missing the mark.

I’ve been missing the mark.

Who knew that praying about something could be a disguised method of seeking “as much control as possible”. Of making sure “all our bases are covered”. Praying something over and over because we’re trying to do everything humanly possible on our end (i.e. striving).

Again, I feel it’s important to note that I’m referring to an attitude of the heart more than the amount of times we “commit something” to God. He calls us to times of intense intercession or allows people to be “on our heart” so that we will spend time lifting needs to Him. That’s vital. All of that is close…so close, to God’s heart.

When Prayer Becomes Striving

(Photo credit: Liz Heikoop Photography)

However, in my case, I was hyper focused on a something…rather than a Someone. I’m pretty sure God heard me the 36th time I prayed about it…and, for me and my situation, it’s time to just completely let go and know He is sovereign. I think of the scriptures in Matthew 6:7, which talk about people hoping to be heard “by their much speaking”. Jesus follows that verse up saying, “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him”. He then shows us how to pray. There’s an order…and it starts with “Hallowed be Thy Name”.

Worship. Gratefulness. Adoring Him.

If there’s a burden on our hearts or something constantly churning on our minds, just wait…we’ll give that to God in a little bit…first, let’s set our sights on the Faithful One. Authentic worship changes the posture of our hearts more than anything else will.

Refocus our eyes on the Giver, not the gifts He can give.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” -Psalm 46:10, NIV

Life truths presented by the unnamed black cat. Always learning.

Sometimes you just got to rest in Love itself.


3 thoughts on “when prayer becomes striving

  1. Such powerful truths here! Thank you Charissa for sharing this! So love your heart and your listening ears to Jesus’ voice!


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