Open Hands

Praying with hands that are both physically and spiritually, emotionally and whatever-else-ly open has dramatically changed my prayer life.

I used to pray in a way that was self-centered and with merely a goal in mind for what I wanted to happen. I wouldn't check in with God to see how His day was going, or check in with Him to see what He had to say that day. I wouldn't ask Him if there were conversations I needed to have, and I would never have asked Him to give me words mid-conversation.

I started noticing though, that when I was grasping onto things or grasping for things, they consistently didn't go my way. When I started conversing with God rather than talking to Him, everything changed.

I've started (emphasis on started - it's only been this year) to chat with God rather than just too Him. I've made myself stop my words in a conversation and check in with Him before proceeding. Take today for instance, I was chatting with a friend. She started sharing a part of her heart and what's going on in life. As she talked, I listened, and whispered to Jesus got anything for me to say? In that conversation, He called me to silence. He called me to listen.

Whereas the other day, I was chatting with another friend. As I checked in with God, He gave me a question to ask. As I asked her the question, the conversation started going places it might not have gone without His influence.

I want to be influenced by Him! I talked about this over at Geeky + Sassy's blog the other day. I had a cool conversation occur in my life a few weeks back that I shared over at her blog. I also wrote a few weeks back over at be.loved about techniques (which sounds awful if you ask me - but I'm not sure what else to call it. Spiritual discipline take discipline, and getting to a place of consistency sometimes requires learning ways to be consistent) for making prayer a part of daily life.

I'm still learning how to do this. I'm still at the beginning of learning so many things- which is tremendously exciting.

I never get tired of saying that I'm a consistent sinner in need of a Saviour whose love never fails, gives up, or runs out. I find that grace in Jesus.

I know I've said it before, but I consistently house fear over anyone reading any of my words and sensing arrogance or pride. Believe me, if you sense it, it's there, but along with it is a heart that genuinely asks Jesus every single day to help me out. I hope He never tires of my prayer asking for help.

Anyways, just know that (as I've mentioned before), I always hope that in a day, week, month, year, season from now, that I'll look back and see error in my ways - I always want to be growing and learning more, becoming more like Christ - as much as He'll allow me to each day. I fail often but more often than I fail, His grace prevails.

Oh man - I love Jesus!

. . .

There's one major area of my life where I'm praying with open hands. I've never had so much peace over such a major thing in my life. I think it's because I'm starting to actually believe that God's will will be done. It's not a question of if. 

I see this in how Jesus prayed.
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
(Matthew 26:39 ESV)
Jesus prayed God's will over a situation where Jesus clearly did not actually want God's will in his life. He wanted it in Spirit, but His flesh still fought it. He was faithful though and never sinner. He knew it had to happen and he was fully willing to live out whatever God did, but he did not hesitate to ask God to change what was to happen.
Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
    “Father, hallowed be your name.
    Your kingdom come.

    Give us each day our daily bread,
    and forgive us our sins,
        for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
    And lead us not into temptation.”
(Luke 11:1-4 ESV)
I don't even think I can begin to cover how beautiful this prayer is. Maybe I'll write more about it another day, but for now just to listen to this sermon (it's the one entitled "You Asked Jesus Answers: Prayer") that my church did on prayer a while ago. It honestly changed my prayer life. Jesus worked so much truth into that sermon that this girl needed to hear. There are so many beautiful and truth filled sermons on this passage.
In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.
(Luke 6:12 ESV)
The next portion of Luke 6 speaks of Jesus choosing His disciples. I see this as such a great example to follow before making large decisions - to go and pray much!

God is in control so I can let go of control. I can petition to Him and He will always hear. And because He is sovereign I can trust Him to work everything for His glory.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:26-28 ESV)
I never want to assume that you are like me but for me, when I read verses like that one above, I get overwhelmed. Grace overwhelms me and I have to go back to the top of that chapter in Romans and just read it all over again. Wow. The best part is that the "good" in those verses means God's glory. I want God's glory in every situation of my life and yours.

I can rest easy knowing that He knows all.

Oh what peace! Oh what joy! Oh what love!