August 22, 2016
What Can I Do to Bring You Joy?
Lord, take care of that friend who is a missionary.
Lord, heal my hurting heart.
Father, help me to be wise with our finances.
Father, I need You right now.
If I could stack up my prayer requests, I’m sure they’d reach the sky. I’ve been bringing them to God for a long time, sometimes whispered in a time of crisis and other times as I settle in the morning for quiet time. I love that God is receptive to each request and hears every one.
However, a while back, I started praying a little differently.
I started talking to God as if He were truly a friend, someone who wasn’t just the recipient of my requests, but a dear friend where the conversation was mutual. This idea might seem strange to some, but it’s very biblical.
In Romans 5, Paul reminds us that Jesus came to earth as a result of God’s love for us. It was God’s desire that the cross and resurrection forever break down walls that sin erected.
Paul doesn’t stop there, however. He joyfully shares that this reconciliation brought us into a wonderful new relationship with God — that of a friend.
This concept of God as a friend doesn’t diminish His sovereignty or the fact that He is powerful. Rather it reveals His desire not only to know us, but to be known.
I would never come to a friend with only requests or only praise of their virtues. I would tune in to that person’s heart; sharing would be mutual.
That’s what led me to pray in a different way. I began my conversations every morning asking one simple question: Lord, is there anything I can do to bring You joy today?
That simple question led to answers, some of them surprising. One day I was rocking 2-year-old Josiah, my grandson. His tired mama rested in the other room. I sang a silly song over him and he snuggled close.
This brings Me joy.
Those words came from deep within. A confirmation that God was delighted by what I was doing.
He saw something I didn’t. Perhaps it was the fact that Josiah was snug in my arms and that moment was building security in this little man’s heart. I’ll never know for sure, but it brought God joy and that was enough.
On another day, a friend messaged me. She was having a bad day. I didn’t have a lot of time, but I felt that gentle tug so I messaged her and we chatted for no more than 15 minutes. I ended our conversation with the words, “I love you big and I’m going to pray for you.” Then I knelt and prayed before going on with my schedule for the day.
There it was again. That inner knowing.
This brings Me joy.
I had assumed it was the bigger things that brought God joy. You know, like telling someone about Jesus or changing the world. Certainly, these are beautiful in the eyes of our Heavenly Father, but these small moments matter to God, too.
As we begin our everyday conversations with God asking, “What might I do to bring You joy today?” our spiritual ears start to open. We might discover that some of the smallest events of our day are actually miracles, as we partner with God to love people.
Coming to God as a friend as well as our heavenly Father draws us into the wonderful relationship Paul talked about in Romans 5:11: “So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.”
Maybe today is a great day to flip our prayer lives in a whole new direction.
What can we do to bring You joy today, Lord?
We just might be surprised at the answer.
Heavenly Father, what can I do today to bring You joy? Not to earn points with You, but to simply talk with You. To hear Your heart, as well as to share mine. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 15:15, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (NIV)
Come walk with Jesus, wherever He leads, whatever He asks, whatever miracle He desires to do in you. Suzie Eller’s new book, Come With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads will open your eyes to what it means to follow Jesus.
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Sometimes what brings God joy may be buried in the heart of our request. Our prayer might be, “Lord, fix my friend’s hurting heart.” As we reach out to her with a note or words of encouragement, our response might be exactly what delights the heart of God.
© 2016 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.
Originally published Monday, 22 August 2016.