I was recently introduced to a computer program that replaced sticky notes. I used to have sticky notes all over the top of my desk for things I needed to do or remember--for family, self, projects--all those things to do and people to meet kind of lists. Maybe you have them, too.
It's been very freeing and has, in many ways, made me more productive. At the same time, I found the online app "coffitivity" which produces the sound of a coffeeshop in the background when it gets too quiet. My family laughs, but I enjoy feeling like there are people in my immediate surroundings.
All that to say, when I finished my daily Bible reading this morning and listened to myself pray (try it if it's not your normal routine), I asked if God could just look at my list and give me wisdom, success, all the good stuff. If you have given me the benefit of the doubt in the past, you may have just changed your mind.
And in that moment, the Holy Spirit convicted me that prayer is a sign and exercise of humility. In prayer, I am not exerting the effort, I am laying it before God to do what He will. I pause from effort. I stop striving; cry, "uncle;" refuse to work on the list and simply talk to Him about it. In the end, it is a sign of trust.
Prayer recognizes that my efforts are dependent on God; not independent of Him. Prayer recognizes my lowly, ineffectual state. Prayer says, "I can't; I won't; I release the outcome." Prayer says, "I am at rest."
And, in resting, I exercise my true state of being.
I cannot gain acceptance before God. There is nothing I can do to earn His favor. There is nothing I can do to procure eternity. I simply exist for His pleasure and glory. I bring nothing except what He has given.
Therefore, in Christ, I have acceptance from God. I have His favor. It cannot be lost. I have already procured eternity--it is mine. I am motivated and driven to live for His pleasure and glory because of all He has given.
The Lord is
the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
bless the Lord who
has counseled me;
Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.
I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. (Psalm 16:5-11)