Monday, May 18, 2009

He Listens

This is an account of my efforts to put into action what I learn while reading the Bible, an account of my journey to become closer to God.

This past Sunday our Lead Pastor spoke about Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

I’m five and one-half months into my year of becoming closer to God, and although I’m certainly closer to Him than I’ve ever been, I sometimes still wonder if I am pleasing Him. Specifically, I worry that my prayers may not be pleasing to Him. Occasionally I fall asleep before finishing my prayers, and although I finish praying when I wake up in the morning, I can’t help but think that I’m being lazy by crawling into bed before I begin praying. Maybe I should get on my knees to pray; perhaps then I won’t fall asleep.

And I do get anxious at times, as when asking for something for myself. I boldly and earnestly ask God for things for others all the time, but I feel guilty when my request is for my benefit. How dare I ask?

And to make matters worse, I fear I am not thankful enough when I pray. Often I make my requests first and then remember to be thankful, but too often all I say is “thanks for everything,” which seems so much like an afterthought, or I say thanks for the same things over and over again, i.e., for my family, my wife, my health, my salvation. I worry I do not rejoice enough for all the things I am blessed with, with the so many things that go right and turn out well in my life.

And yet as I write this, I, once again, remember something else our Lead Pastor told us – it isn’t performance that gets you into Heaven. I can never be “good enough” to earn a place in Heaven. Rather, it is only by His immense mercy and grace, mercy and grace which are extended to me even though I will always fall short of His hopes and expectations for me, that I will have eternal life.

And after I’ve remembered that, a wave of thanksgiving does come over me, for I am immeasurably thankful that in spite of myself, I can never disappoint Him so greatly that He would close the door on me.

So I will pray tonight, both for myself and many others, and I will ask for many things. And I will not only remember to express my thankfulness for my blessings and answered prayers, I will be thankful in the moments as I am praying. Thankful that even with my flaws, my errors, my missteps, omissions and blunders, He still listens to me.

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog, and please pray for me and my family. Now go out and hug somebody!


Mary Beth said...

This is one of my life verses. I actually used this when I spoke in a church on Mother's Day.

Somehow the "with thanksgiving" part always gets overlooked. I am an anxious person as well and when I practice this scripture... with Thanksgiving... THEN "the peace of GOD which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind..."

AND it works! I am proof of that.

Thanks for reminding us!

Mary Beth said...

I should have said that the part "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." is the following verse in that passage you wrote about.