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Posted by on Aug 10, 2012 in Inspirational | 0 comments

Comfort Prayers: Why Your Prayers May Not Be Effective

Comfort Prayers: Why Your Prayers May Not Be Effective

Being from South Carolina I’m very familiar with the idea of “comfort food”.  It’s the rich stuff that makes you feel good on the inside.  Now that I’ve been away from home for over a decade, comfort food has even richer meaning.  On the odd occasion that I enjoy fried chicken, with biscuits and gravy, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, green been casserole and a big glass of sweet tea, it takes me home.  I feel more comfortable, like putting on an old pair of jeans that fit just right.

That feeling may be a great goal for the end of a good meal, but it’s not a great goal for the end of your prayers.  “Comfort Prayers” are the prayers we pray asking God to take us back to some place in time where everything feels comfortable.  There are some reasons why “comfort prayers” don’t work:

1.) God doesn’t want you to move backwards.  He wants you to move forward into the unknown.  Yes, His plans are good.  But they aren’t to take you back to your past, no matter how good you’ve convinced yourself it was.

2.) You’re not supposed to be in control.  “Comfort prayers” are usually an ask for God to bring things back to the place where “you can handle it”.  But God doesn’t want you to just handle it.  He doesn’t mind you feeling uncomfortable enough to have to rely on a relationship with Him!

3.) They’re not Scriptural.  Almost every reference to prayer in the New Testament involves an agreement with Heaven or praying “in the name of Jesus”.  “Comfort prayers” are completely centered on our own interests with no consideration for the will and purpose of God.

I have been guilty of praying “comfort prayers”…a lot.  Even when I think I’m praying God’s will I catch myself praying He’ll do it in a specific way that I understand, a way that puts me back in control.  For instance, when I have a need I often pray for more money.  Having more money puts me in control.  I understand how that works.  But God has a million ways to meet that need.  I have to choose to trust God to meet the need the way He decides to do it.

Forget about being comfortable.  A life of faith means being outside your comfort zone.  Actually…instead of completely forgetting about comfort, learn to be comfortable trusting in God when you’re not in control.  Ask yourself, is this prayer an attempt to put me back in control or an attempt to agree with God?

How about you?  Have you ever caught yourself praying “comfort prayers”?  How do you turn them into effective prayers?

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Posted by on Jul 25, 2012 in Inspirational | 0 comments

I may have been abducted by aliens…and 16 ways to like yourself but still be humble

I may have been abducted by aliens…and 16 ways to like yourself but still be humble

It was an eerily humid South Carolina day.  It had just rained, but it wasn’t the refreshing kind…more like the drips from the ceiling of a sauna.  I remember the silent, dark mass hovering above me, moving slowly through the sky.  I remember the intrigue.  But that’s all.  The next moment was just disorientation.  The steam coming up from the street seemed consuming and I was having trouble breathing.  I went inside to regain my strength, confused as to how a few minutes outside could be so draining.

I share this story from my childhood because I want you to understand just how much I like myself.  When I thought back on this experience years later while listening to late-night radio I realized that I may have actually been abducted by aliens.  I won’t go into the details…but here’s the point.  I immediately could only think of two reasons why aliens would have abducted little-ole me:

  • They somehow could see the future.  They knew that I was going to turn out to be an amazing influential, awesome leader.  And they wanted to experiment on me to understand what made me so great.

– OR –

  • They actually did something to me that gave me subtle super-human qualities that I would use to become an amazing influential, awesome leader.

Yes.  I’m that much in love with myself.  But you know what?  I like that about myself, too!  I don’t believe that humility is all about thinking you’re less awesome than everyone else.  Humility is a posture toward other people, having little to do with your self-image.

16 ways to like yourself but still be humble:

  1. Believe the best about the intentions of others.
  2. Take time to listen and understand other points of view.
  3. Remain Teachable.
  4. Don’t assume a place of honor.  Let others invite you to that place.
  5. Honor Authority.
  6. Hang around people with higher developed capacity than you.
  7. Develop a friendship with someone poor.
  8. Find a Cause bigger than yourself.
  9. Start a blog…and see how many of your friends actually read it 🙂
  10. Place God’s ways and His Word above your reasoning.
  11. Find areas of your life you can submit to others.
  12. Give up your seat on a crowded bus/train.
  13. Get married.  Have children.
  14. Invest in someone younger than you.
  15. Seek out and listen to someone’s story.
  16. Talk about how awesome someone else is.

What do you think?  Is it possible to like yourself and still be humble?  How do you do it?

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