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Sabotaging My Own Prayers

I have made a startling discovery! I am seeing how often I stand in the way of answers to my own prayers. I do this most often with the ones I love the very most. So often I pray for something not realizing that part of God's answer has a lot to do with me and my responses. Often He will answer my prayers in spite of me and I stand in the way of the very thing I am desiring. Sometimes I even mistake Him answering for something negative.

"Father, help this child to open up more and become more vulnerable," and then I meet their new vulnerability with defensiveness or denial chasing vulnerability away.

"God, please provide me with deepening friendships," and then I sabotage relationship by withdrawing and leaving the relationship sailing on surface waters. 

"Father, help us to communicate more intimately in our marriage," and then I repeat old familiar patterns that disinvite intimacy from the table. 

"God, help me to know Your love more deeply," and then I open my journal in one hand while holding my phone in the other ready to fend off heart level interaction.

"Father, make me more like you," and then I shatter mirrors that don't reflect the me I was hoping to see.

"God, help our home to be a safe space for all," and then an emotion I am uncomfortable with makes an appearance and I scare it away or ignore it hoping it will leave.

I was thinking about this today and how our lives are a bit like a renovation project on a house. Sometimes I see a vision of what I want but then sabotage the process by which God would bring that thing into existence. I sabotage in the moments what I truly want and pray for in my overall life. 

If I was renovating a house, I would look at myriads of finished pictures, compare products, plan and hire a contractor, who would know much more than I do about how to renovate a house. I would trust him to do what he needed to do to get the job done.

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God has given us a vision of what He is changing us into. He is changing us into His image! That is a big renovation project. The funny thing is the more I know Him, the more I am aware of how not like Him I am, but simultaneously I find a deepening knowledge of His extravagant love.

But what if I didn't trust the contractor to do what needed to be done? What if I walked into the house, saw the mess and chaos of the moment and became angry? What if I grabbed my picture of the dream project, held it up and demanded, "I thought you were creating this! Look at this mess in here. And the foundation, WHY are you ripping that up? I think it looked fine! You are renovating things that didn't need renovating! I was more hoping you'd paint, put in pretty flooring and just make it good to look at."

What if the contractor looked at me and said, "But the foundation was faulty and wouldn't hold up in a storm. The house will be damaged if I do not repair the foundation," and I responded with, "It worked fine. Don't mess with it." I would be considered foolish and my lack of trust in the contractor would be my demise. Just because a faulty foundation works for some time, doesn't mean it will keep working. Renovating foundations is messy work and for a time things look worse before they look better. My trust in the contractor would determine my ability to allow him to do the necessary work without my interference.

I am finding when I pray for relationships, suddenly things can start to look a bit messy. I find myself in unfamiliar territory. Praying for someone to know who they are in God may make them less dependent on me and more willing to speak their mind. Praying for someone's depression sometimes brings about getting to the bottom of why they are depressed and that can be uncomfortable. Sometimes source of pain responses in others is revealed and sometimes that source is me. Praying for someone to begin sharing more deeply requires me to listen in ways I haven't had to before. Distance in a relationship sometimes requires crossing a formidable gap of hurt, pain, disappointments and misunderstandings.

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Sometimes others newfound vulnerability makes me feel newly vulnerable. I have to see things in me I don't always enjoy seeing, I have to show up in ways I have previously been unfamiliar with, I have to hold hearts tenderly when my own feels it is trembling in the open sea. None of this would be possible without knowing Someone bigger holds my heart. "Father, help me to not stand in the way of my own prayers." 

These are all invitations to trust. "God hold my heart. Hold my life." This becomes my breath prayer when I walk into the room and see the mess of renovation and it catches me off guard. When the faulty foundation is ripped out from under my feet and the new one is not quite constructed, He shows me where to step. He knows where to put me to keep me from falling. He gives me the confidence that beauty is being built and instead of standing in the way of my prayer, I can be part of the answer to my own prayer.

"Father, I trust you with my life. Some places in me look a little broken and bent. I feel a bit out of sorts. Some of the territory I am in feels unfamiliar, strange and a little scary. It's disorienting. It's hard for me to see what is You tearing out bad foundations and what is destruction. Those are two different things. But I know You know. That comforts me. Even darkness is as light to You. Not a thing in this world has the power to confuse You or is beyond Your comprehension. I rest in Your loving care for me. I cannot always see but I am always with the One Who can. Help me rest in you and not fight against the work You are doing in me and in others. Help me to put my confidence in You. Help me to release my grip from those wrong ways of doing life, fears and the things I desperately cling to and instead rest in Your loving embrace."