Thursday, September 10, 2015

Prayer with a Price



I remember the day years ago, sitting in the parking lot with my best friend from high school. We had been shopping, and more important than the shopping, pouring our hearts out to each other. Now, back in the car we took a moment to pray for each other. I closed my eyes and began by saying, "Dear Lord, please give my friend patience..." 

THWAAACCCKKK! 

A sharp pain shot up my shin and I grabbed it. My friend said with a hiss, "Don't pray that!" Some prayers come with a price, and she was not sure she wanted to pay it, at least that particular week.

Her kick to my shin still reminds me today that there are some prayers we pray with a price attached. Patience is certainly one of those prayers. Don't ask for it without considering the uncomfortable circumstances which may arise precisely for the purpose of answering your prayer.

Recently I have been studying the book of Ephesians, and I came across a small but weighty directive that just might also qualify for the title of Prayer with a Price. 

Be completely humble... Ephesians 4:2a

I was intrigued by this little powerhouse. Be completely humble? Is that really possible, Lord?

The words swirled around in my head for weeks as I pondered. Can one be completely anything this side of heaven? Aren't we innately prideful, canceling out any possibility of being completely humble?

I do know one thing. I desire to be completely humble. I decided after thinking long on it, that if God said to be it, it must be possible. So I took the plunge and began to pray The Prayer with a Price.

I told God I was up for it, whatever it was.

A few days later, I stood in the bathroom, turban towel wrapped around my head, and cried my eyes out.  Life had dealt its punches and knocked me to my face. My heart felt like it was breaking. I looked at my husband and said, “This is NOT DRAMA. This is pain. But I am okay with it. I prayed for it. It just hurts.

The weeks that followed were like a parade of Danetta’s weaknesses.  One thing after another reared its ugly head, and I grew smaller and smaller. 

I must have been pretty high on the pedestal of pride to fall so far and so hard. Humility is the opposite of pride, right?

One early morning as I ran and talked it over with a dear friend, it dawned on me that there was another feeling overtaking the pain of humiliation that had become so familiar since The Prayer. It was relief.

I had actually been so stripped, so beaten, so diminished, that I was relieved. 

Relieved of the burden of perfectionism. Relieved of the burden of people-pleasing. Relieved of the burden of knowing it all. (As if I could ever really be perfect, please everyone, or know much of anything.) I was free.

Weakness had made me free, and the price had been worth it.

Now I am sure I will pick those burdens up again, climbing up to my comfy little pedestal of pride to take a look at the view I missed while I was crying my eyes out. But something has changed in me, and I want more of it. More of Christ, less of Danetta. 

I am still asking to be completely humble. I am certain it will be a lifelong, continual process. But I am not afraid of the pain anymore. I am rejoicing in the freedom of seeing myself decrease. She isn’t all that anyway.

Let Him increase in me.

I am a little quicker to pray the Prayer with a Price now that I know the reward on the other side.

Have you ever prayed a prayer that came with a price? I want to hear about it! Leave your story in the comments section below.

TWEETABLES:

Some prayers come with a price.  (Click to Tweet)

Is it possible to be completely humble? Ephesians 4:2 tells us it is. (Click to Tweet)




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