Making God the First Thing in Your Life
I have often said that I don’t think I will ever graduate from the school of prayer. I still continue to gain new, deeper insights into the many different aspects of prayer—its necessity, its value, its benefits, what to pray, when to pray, how to pray, etc.
I like to read books and articles on prayer, and one of the latest book that I have been reading is entitled The PAPA Prayer by Larry Crabb. I had already gained several new insights, but near the end of his book I became intrigued with the title of the next chapter I was to read. It was “Become Someone God Can Really Enjoy.”
We all have people we enjoy being around. They are people with character and personality qualities that we not only appreciate and enjoy. But there are also people with character qualities that we don’t appreciate or enjoy.
Those are the ones that do not edify, refresh, encourage, or inspire, they are the ones who use us for their purposes with no real thought of doing something for our good.
There are people like that in all cultures, even in Papua New Guinea where we served as missionary Bible translators. One man in particular (named Sup, pronounced “soup”) worked at cultivating a relationship with us and all the other missionaries at a mission station near our village so he could ask and receive from us all sorts of things, most of which were not life essential things. Every time we saw him coming, we had to quickly readjust our knee-jerk reaction of “Wonder what he’s going to ask for this time,” to “Lord, help us take advantage of another ministry opportunity.”
The Lord coupled my initial wonderings about prayer and the chapter title “Become Someone God Can Really Enjoy” with this memory about Sup. Knowing how often I tend to come to the Lord in prayer because I wanted something from Him, I wondered if He felt about me like the feelings I had to fight when I saw Sup coming.
I know He is a very loving Father and rejoices that we come to Him with our needs, but many of the things I ask for are not life essential or salvation essential needs. They are selfish desires I want just to make life easier and more enjoyable. I became convicted of how few times I came to God in prayer just because I wanted to be with Him, just because I enjoyed being with Him, just because I love Him. Just being with Him, focusing on His majesty, His character, His love, and so many other things was so edifying, refreshing, comforting, encouraging, and inspiring, I always left His presence realizing how much I still needed to grow and wanting to be more like Him. And during those special times, I didn’t ask for anything. It was just a great Father and son time!
All this has caused me to re-examine my prayer life and helped me to focus on being a son God can really enjoy spending time with. I am asking, “Am I son who is learning to ask for the right things? Am I a son who values his Father and his relationship with the Father above all else whether or not I get everything I ask for? Or am I still too much of a spoiled kid just coming to God to get things I want.”