Prayer, what humility looks like in action

A truly Christian love, either to God or men, is a humble broken-hearted love. The desires of the saints, however earnest, are humble desires. Their hope is a humble hope; and their joy, even when it is unspeakable and full of glory, is a humble broken-hearted joy, and leaves the Christian more poor in spirit, and more like a little child, and more disposed to a universal lowliness of behaviour.
— ― Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections

On Monday morning as I dragged my unmotivated self into prayer time, I found myself exhausted with praying.  I stopped and contemplated why I was struggling.  I couldn't come up with any clarity.  I then began to think of how discouraging it was that I was at a loss in my prayer time to find a meaningful connection.   The feeling left me deeply humbled, and at a total loss.  I thought,   I am not a skillful person-of-prayer, I am not a vigilant hearer-of-God's voice, I am not a consistent reflection of Jesus to my wife and children.  

Twenty-six years of professional ministry, eleven years of which have been in urban ministry and nineteen years lecturing at either undergraduate or graduate seminaries, and there I was, on my knees, frustrated at the ineptitude and weakliness of my prayer.   I sat there stunned at my own shallowness and hollow words.   I tried to lose myself by focusing more and more on God's faithfulness and his goodness, but even that seemed more like a theological exercise (D+Pr+Pa: orthodoxy = orthopraxy = orthopathy).  

Back on my knees I remembered how prayer was synonymous with humbling.  Prayer was suppose to be what humility was in action.   I kept hearing, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."  I grabbed my sense of weakness and brokenness by the scruff of the neck and prayed these words:

Here I am a broken and humbled man in need of You.  And you have come through once again, you have redeemed this brokenness in me by using it to bring me to a place of utter dependency and forge in me a humbleness consistent with your Son.  

I am humbled (repeated about 20 times).

Send the Spirit of your Son Jesus into me (repeated until I was utterly broken with desire).

I thought of those words again, "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble," and I became paradoxically grateful for my weakness and brokenness, for I realized it was not my perfection but my imperfection that God was drawn to in me.   

 

This Sunday join us as Dr. Jeffrey Garner unpacks more of how we can love God intimately.

Sunday  |    Celebration Gathering  |  9:30 and 11:00

Come 5 minutes early.  Sing and sway into God's presence.