Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Prayers and blessings
After going to Texas on Sunday for an overnight trip to visit my Mom and other family members, including a new great-nephew, I am freshly aware of blessings, not that my awareness of blessings ever really ends these days. But seeing that sweet baby boy, and his 4-year-old and 8-year-old sisters, and his parents, and his grandparents and especially his great-gramdmother -- my mother -- reacting to this precious new life was joyous and heartwarming. It's also humbling to realize again how far the blessings our family has received through the years outweigh any sense we might have of burdens. Several of my devotionals in the past week or so have added layers of understanding or potential meaning to my perception of blessings. I guess it started with a week ago Sunday, when I sang Laura Story's song, "Blessings," at church. Among the lyrics: We pray for blessings, we pray for peace Comfort for family, protection while we sleep We pray for healing, for prosperity We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering That part really resonates with me, but then comes the more challenging part of her lyrics: And all the while You hear each spoken need Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things 'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops What if Your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights Are what it takes to know You're near? What if trials of this life Are Your mercies in disguise? Those words seemed to fit as I've struggled to increase the devotion and intentionality of my prayers for others. I do pray for blessings and healing for people in need -- but I most pray for God's will. Then came some of the devotional words. Oswald Chambers' "My Utmost for His Highest" began challenging me to consider that praying for and receiving blessings can actually distract us from focusing on God Himself. Today, the Jesus Calling devotional by Sarah Young also addressed this. "Do not seek Me primarily for what I can give you. Remember that I, the Giver, am infinitely greater than any gift I might impart to you. Though I delight in blessing My children, I am deeply grieved when My blessings become idols in their hearts. ... When I am the ultimate Desire of your heart, you are safe from the danger of idolatry. As you wait in My Presence, enjoy the greatest gift of all: Christ in you, the hope of Glory!" I think what I'm left with right now is the idea that it's easy enough for me to pray for blessings and for God's will and to know and to do His will, to His glory. But what is harder for me is to simply seek God.