• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Helplessness

Helplessness is not a word that many of us like the sound of. It implies that we can, in all truthfulness, do nothing and need to rely totally on another.

Yet Paul Miller, in chapter 6 of A Praying Life says that, “The gospel, God’s free gift of grace in Jesus, only works when we realize we don’t have it all together. The same is true for prayer.” Really, you might say. Paul Miller goes on, “In prayer, the Father receives us as we are because of Jesus and gives us his gift of help. We look at the inadequacy of our praying and give up, thinking something is wrong with us. God looks at the adequacy of his Son and delights in our sloppy meandering prayers.” (55)

I’m not sure I really like that thought. I would prefer that my prayers be well built around strong theology ushering me up into God’s presence, if you will. “Sloppy meandering prayers” sound too feeble, vulnerable, and well helpless.

It seems that is just the paradox of prayer in relation to our journey with God. Paul Miller puts it this way: “Jesus isn’t asking us to do anything he isn’t already doing. He is inviting us into his life of helpless dependence on his heavenly Father. To become more like Jesus is to feel increasingly unable to do life, increasingly wary of your heart. Paradoxically, you get holier while you are feeling less holy. The very thing you are trying to escape – your inability – opens the door to prayer and then grace.”

I actually thought of putting at the end of this post, some kind of prayer “growth-o-meter”. You know something where you could point to where you currently are in your journey of prayer and then where you would like to be. However, I realized that even “charting” one’s life of prayer would simply be a reflection of the fact that we still think we can do life and prayer on our own.

5 Responses

  1. This is true. That point about Jesus simply asking us to do what He already did – full dependence – is striking. One of the Sonship sessions addresses that too… saying something like “the ultimate goal of every human is to become 100% dependent on God.” In light of Jesus’ amazing life and impact, that makes perfect sense. Yet, living it out doesn’t “feel” like it makes sense!

    • Full dependence is a work in progress in our hearts. It is amazing how easily we are driven away from helplessness by our hearts which want to always bring something to merit what God has done in our hearts, rather than responding to that work by acts of love towards God and others.

  2. “You get holier while you are feeling less holy.” This is especially true when feelings of being less holy lead us to repentance and humility at the foot of the cross. We lose self-consciousness and become Christ conscious which makes us whole or holy.

    • That move towards repentance and faith is not an easy one, especially when we “feel” like growth in holiness is all our work. Psalm 139:23-24 is a helpful prayer to direct us back to the cross.

  3. God looks at the adequacy of his Son and delights in our sloppy meandering prayers.” (55)

    Lord, forgive me for the numerous times I have equipped people to orchestrate their approach to God in prayer….reforming that sloppy meandering stuff. And…thank-you Lord, that you hear and embrace my blubbering.

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