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PRAYER—Deal with My Obstinacy


 

God Deals with Obstinacy

 

Let go and let God—AA Slogan

 

 

Father,

I’m praying because I know I should,

Not because it is heartfelt.

I can do things for myself.

I always have—always will.

I don’t need Your help—not really.

“Bring it on,” is my motto.

In my heart, this is how I feel—

At least, most often than not.

I’m not trying to hurt anybody,

But I don’t really trust people either—

Not even You, Lord, not even You.

As I grit my teeth obstinately,

Insolently I think, I can handle anything.

 

Then, You allow adversity to have full reign,

Shaking me to the core of my existence.

Defiantly, I fight You each step of the way,

Refusing to learn the lesson I’m being taught.

My proud, headstrong attitude defines who I am.

Undaunted by my inflexibility,

You increase the pressure upon me,

And I wince and whine at the discomfort,

But I will not yield—not yet.

I still have so much fight left in me.

I cannot submit; I will not submit.

Then, You double the pressure, redoubling it once again.

Finally, when I can stand no more,

I break—just a little and, in my bewildered distress,

I cry out imploringly, “Lord? What have I done?”

As if completely innocent, I ask, “Why is this happening?”

Revealing Your purpose, You allow me to recognize

Just how much my world required shaking.

Finally, coming to the end of my intransigence,

I acknowledge what I should have earlier,

“Your will is what I desire. Do with me as You please,

You are Almighty God, and I am not,

Amen.”

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, or angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor thins to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)

Jack Watts


Learning My Lessons in Failure

 

Just for today I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life problems at once—AA Slogan

 

 

Father,

Nothing is how I planned it to be,

As I thought it would be,

As I believed it had been promised by You.

Perhaps my aspirations were nothing more

Than my own wishful thinking,

But the despair from my failure is real.

Nothing could be more real

Than how heartbroken I am,

Knowing that my life didn’t have

To be the way it has become.

As a youth, when I turned my life,

My will and my purpose

Over to You for safekeeping,

I believed I would experience abundance,

But that has not been my lot—not even close.

It seems like I have failed

At everything I’ve been called to do.

When I’ve needed You the most,

You have become very distant.

My enemies delight at my misfortune.

The pain from their sharp, cutting looks

Is ever before me, stinging and debilitating,

Crushing my soul and my spirit,

Derailing my resolve to be strong once again.

Those I’ve trusted have used and misused me,

Rejecting me without casting a backward glance.

Like a fool, I never realized what was happening.

As I recoiled from my wounds in pain and despair,

I called on You, but You were nowhere to be found.

At least, I couldn’t feel Your presence.

I didn’t want to fail, Father, but I have,

And I can’t change what has happened.

The past is what it is and will remain so.

Many doors have now been closed,

But my journey is not yet finished,

And other opportunities will eventuate.

Help me to learn from my mistakes, Father,

Because I don’t want to ever be in this

Hopeless, tortured place again,

Amen.

Jack Watts

 

Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from Thee will perish; Thou has destroyed all those who are unfaithful to Thee. But as for me, the nearness of my God is my good. I have made the Lord God my refuge. That I may tell of all Thy works. (Psalm 73:25-28)

Jack Watts

Forging Character


Often lines from a movie make a profound impression on people. In one obscure movie, I remember one depraved man’s comment, “It’s easier to maintain character than to recover it.” Obviously, this is true. It is easier to preserve character than to recover it.

When it’s lost, it’s lost and, trying to regain it is always an uphill battle.

But that’s only part of the problem. Once virtue has been abandoned, most lose hope and simply act out the role they believe they were destined to play. From a legalistic perspective, they’re done; their goose is cooked. They’ve fallen, and they can’t get up. Because they believe they are beyond hope, their lives are filled with despair, poor behavior, and low self-esteem. More often than not, this is what people who have fallen believe to be true about themselves.

From God’s perspective, it’s entirely different. He actively pursues those who desire recovery. Because of the severity of a person’s fall, recovering people know the value of restoration—the value of having their dignity reinstated.

Being forgiven much, they develop a deeper capacity to love, which is a highly valued character quality. If you’re in recovery—any kind of recovery—you know this as well. Those who have never fallen—who have never done anything seriously wrong—don’t understand this perspective. Their comprehension about such things is limited.

They don’t have a clue about recovery. Developing compassion and deep empathy doesn’t particularly interest them. They have far too many personal, self-serving goals to achieve. Although they don’t understand its value, we certainly do, don’t we?

If you want to get back on track, join me in this prayer:

Father,

The wounds from my abuse run deep,

Creating shame, anger, and

An overwhelming sense of worthlessness

That enervates every area of my life.

With my mouth, I deny that

This is how I see myself,

But in the recesses of my mind,

I wonder if my abusers were correct about me.

Maybe my life has little value, after all,

Precisely like I have been told.

When it happened, I was as angry

With You as I was with them.

Being in a position of spiritual authority,

I assumed that they spoke for You,

Which they clearly indicated was true.

Feeling such pain and humiliation from my rebuke,

It never occurred to me

That Your Son was also abused—

Just like I have been—

By those who were hateful and self-serving.

You allowed Christ’s abuse—just like you allowed mine.

But what His abusers meant for evil,

You meant for good, redeeming Mankind.

Without His suffering, all would be lost.

Please redeem my life in the same way,

And use it for something of value—

Whatever that might be.

Turn my weakness into strength,

And my broken spirit into something

That is strong, substantive, and purposeful.

Amen

http://sonomachristianhome.com/2015/02/character-is-forged-by-adversity/

Repudiate Exploitation


More often than not, people who have been verbally abused have a tendency to accept more guilt than they should. It’s one of the reasons why the abused person withdraws from his or her relationship from the Lord. Such people have an innate tendency to feel unworthy—a belief that their abusers definitely exploit advantageously.

After being shamed and ridiculed, many people’s sense of low self-esteem kicks in, and the wounded person reels emotionally from the experience. But that’s not all. After having endured the first instance of verbal abuse, the abused person has a tendency to accept guilt from then on—regardless of whether or not there is a valid reason to do so. It’s simply part of their character make up to accept blame; and the world is full of people who have no qualms about imposing additional guilt upon them.

That’s why it’s so important to think soberly. If you are the type of person who allows yourself to accept the lion’s share of responsibility when things go wrong, you need to constantly and repeatedly keep your heart and your mind open to God’s leading in dealing with your sense of guilt. You may be willing to continue in an abusive situation, thinking it’s either your lot in life or that you deserve it—neither of which is true. You don’t deserve it; and no one has the right to impose it upon you either.

It’s not God’s punishment, which you deserve. It’s abuse—pure and simple. God can definitely use the experience to make you a better person; but it’s His permissive will that allows it and nothing more. God loves you just the way you are, period—no ifs, ands, or buts about it; and He does not want you to be abused. When you find yourself in such a situation, it can help to journal about it. By writing about it—putting it all down on paper, you will become more objective and less emotive.

Before writing about it, pray. Join me, as we pray:

Father,

Now that I’ve opened myself up completely,

Being as honest and forthright

As I know how to be,

Having also admitted my faults to another,

I want to humbly ask You

To change anything in me You desire.

You are Almighty God; and I am not.

I am weary of trying to walk a path,

Which has not been intended by You.

As I continue to purge my soul

Of all the toxins that remain,

I know I need to go one step further.

I need to forgive those who have been abusive,

Relieving them totally and completely of culpability.

I have nursed my anger and bitterness

For far too long, and I have paid

A heavy emotional price for doing so.

Believing I was punishing them by being unforgiving,

I have only punished myself instead.

I no longer want to live like that—

Having to pay a huge price for being remorseless.

I forgive them—just as You have forgiven me.

I release them completely—just as You have released me.

Give me the strength to put my pain and anger away;

Which will allow me to walk into the future

Free from these debilitating encumbrances.

Amen

Jack Watts


God Understands Your Shame

 

God could and would if He were sought—AA Slogan

 

 

Father,

My heart aches,

And I feel so unworthy

To come before You.

I feel worthless and,

By the contemptuous smirks of others,

I’m certain they are right.

I feel so ashamed of myself,

And nobody is there to say,

“It’s okay. God is there for you

No matter what.”

I feel like I need to cringe and shy away—

Never again to hold my head high.

I feel like I should skulk in the darkness,

Rather than boldly embrace the light.

I feel like You don’t love me, Father,

And I wonder, How could You?

I know I don’t love myself.

 

And yet, in the depth of my self-pity,

You are there with me, always vigilant,

Always available, always telling me,

My child, I know what you’ve done.

I know how badly you feel.

I know that you think your life has no value,

But that’s not how I see you—not at all.

In spite of everything, I love you

Just the way you are.

This is why I sent My Son.

He paid the price for your shame,

Washing you whiter than snow.

Now, leave the past behind.

Hold your head high and walk

With Me confidently into the future.

I still have a plan for you—

A plan filled with hope and promise.

 

Answer me quickly, O Lord, my spirit fails; do not hide Thy face from me, lest I become like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning; for I trust in Thee; Teach me the way in which I should walk; for the Thee I lift up my soul. Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; I take refuge in Thee. (Psalm 143:7-9)

Jack Watts

PRAYER—Lord, Restore Me


Being Restored to Wholeness

 

The task ahead of us is never as great as the Power behind us—AA Slogan

 

 

Father,

There was a path that seemed so promising—

A road that looked like it was Your way,

But it was not. It required far too much

Compromise to be something that You would honor.

In the deepest recesses of my heart,

I knew this—despite each of my protestations.

Nevertheless, I followed the errant path,

Which I knew was the wrong way to go,

Paying a terrible price for doing so.

Later, with no other acceptable recourse,

I came back to You, just as I have always done—

Sorrowful, humbled, and crushed—with hat in hand,

Ready and willing to accept necessary change.

 

This time, instead of medicating my pain with alcohol,

I endured the necessary heartache for a period,

Which I thought was far too long, but You knew

Was exactly the time required for my healing.

You promised that if I would humble myself

You would exalt me at the proper time.

I didn’t believe this was true—not literally,

Nor that You would actually do this—not really.

But You have, and I can clearly see

Your hand in the restoration of my life.

 

Now, I stand strong, far wiser, and more resilient,

With a countenance that is calm and serene.

Humbling myself because I had no alternative,

I never considered that—in Your wisdom—

You had orchestrated my circumstances

In a way that my only alternative was to look to You.

This wasn’t the road I would have chosen for myself,

But it’s the direction You have chosen for me.

I wish I could say that I have learned all my lessons,

But I know who I am. I know that in my heart—

I am prone to wander—prone to leave the God I love.

Father, take my heart—take and seal it—

From following fruitless paths leading nowhere,

Amen.

 

 

Make me know Thy ways, O Lord; Teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, for Thou are the God of my salvation; For Thee I wait all the day. Remember, O Lord, Thy compassion and Thy lovingkindnesses, for they have been from of old. (Psalm 25:4-6)

Jack Watts


When Will It Be Enough?

 

The price for serenity and sanity is self-sacrifice—AA Slogan

 

Father,

As I thoughtfully look about,

Appraising my circumstances,

Which are not what I desired—

Not at all what I had planned—

I don’t understand where You are leading,

Nor do I understand why I must travel

This difficult path in isolation, as a solitary figure.

I wanted my life to be so different—

To be easier and more carefree—

But this has not been what I’ve experienced.

As I see the smiling faces of others—

Those who talk about You as if

They know You intimately but do not—

I wonder why their lives appear to be

Free from disappointment and conflict,

While mine has been stressful and taxing.

 

I wonder if I will ever experience joy again?

Father, tell me, when will Your pruning hand

Be finished with Your relentless alterations?

When will I awaken from darkness and despair,

To a bright, sunny day, filled with promise—

Free from sorrow—free from loss?

When will You move in a mighty

Redemptive way, to strengthen me?

When will You say to my enemies,

This is my child—my beloved child—

Whom I will strengthen and establish.

Let all who criticize know that it is I—

The great “I Am” who has done this work.

 

Father, I know You are in charge—

That You have numbered my days—

And my future is in Your hands.

It is within Your power to change everything—

To allow my life to have far more meaning.

Please finish Your transformations quickly,

So that I can withstand the swirling wind

With its foreboding, all-encompassing clouds,

Amen.

 

But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father, we are the clay, and Thou our potter; and all of us are the work of Thy hand. Do not be angry beyond measure, O Lord, neither remember iniquity forever; behold, look now, all of us are Thy people. (Isaiah 64:8-9)

Jack Watts

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