Giving Up My Independence

Originally published Friday, 10 May 2013.

This year, my desire has been to seek God in deeper ways in my prayer life. Like every aspect to spiritual growth, there are always new discoveries to make, rich and awesome wonders to encounter, and deeper roots to grow in faith. As I explore the mysterious depths of prayer, I've come to a conclusion:

I am too independent.

In homeschool, my son and I are reading biographies of famous missionaries. Two that stand out in my mind are Hudson Taylor and George Mueller. These missionaries did not believe in raising support for their work. They believed so strongly in the power of prayer that they prayed for God to meet each and every one of their needs. Every. Single. One. The stories we have read of God's provision are amazing. What strikes me the most, and what has pierced my heart, is how little of my life I entrust to God in prayer.

Like many Americans, I am not as dependent on God as are Christians in other countries. If I need food, I just go to the grocery store. If I need an idea for a school lesson, I browse Pinterest. If I experience a mysterious medical symptom, I look it up online. If I get lost on the road, I look at the GPS. I don't live a life of dependence upon my Heavenly Father. Prayer is not my first instinct. Only when things get beyond my control do I stop and pray.

But I wonder, what would my faith look like if I prayed for everything? What if I prayed when I plan a school lesson? What if I prayed for parking spots? What if I prayed in the midst of our rushing around in the mornings? What if I prayed for opportunities to see God answer my prayers?

And then I think about all those things I just assume are unfixable and rarely stop to pray about--like my allergies or my internet connection that works intermittently or my son's aversion to vegetables. What if I gave all of those things to God too?

"Prayer is the open admission that without Christ we can do nothing. And prayer is the turning away from ourselves to God in the confidence that He will provide the help we need. Prayer humbles us as needy, and exalts God as wealthy." John Piper in Desiring God.

The gospel of grace tells me that I cannot save myself. Jesus came to rescue me from sin and death. My everyday prayers are a reflection of this same truth. Not only do I need a Savior for my sins, I need a Father who hears and answers my prayers each day. Just as my children depend on me to provide for them, I need to depend on my Father to meet my every need. My heart's posture needs to be bent low, humble, expectant, helpless and trusting that God cares about everything that burdens my heart. The more I depend on Him, the more I give to Him in prayer, the greater is His glory and fame.

I am giving up my independence and depending on the One who gives me life, breath, and everything else. Will you join me?