Remember when Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago….but I tell you….” Well, through the years I have pondered certain scriptures with the intent of finding out if the interpretation I had heard most of my life was indeed truth. Many of these findings I have already addressed here on the blog, but a few more are coming to mind this morning. I would like to preface these by saying somewhat like Jesus did, ‘You have heard from the workers and friends for years that a portion of scripture means this, but I have found that it means…’
One of them is:
This matter of not to bothering God with mundane details of our life; they don’t need to be prayed for or about because “we are not to bother God with such things and we have brains, after all” or “we don’t pray about ‘natural’ things; only spiritual things”.
In Mark 5:35-36 it says the disciples did not want these men bothering Jesus. Jesus ignored what they said and said instead, “Don’t be afraid, just believe.”
We are not bothering Him! What a relief and what a comfort.
We were also taught to not take Philippians 4:6-7 literally.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Anxiety…have you ever brought your anxiety to God? Anything you were anxious about? Anything you were afraid of….great or small? Or did we tell ourselves, ‘I just can’t help but be anxious about this. Who wouldn’t be?’ Or are we in denial about our anxiety? ‘I’m not anxious!’ But our stomach is in knots and we don’t feel good physically, we lie awake at night worrying or obsessing about something. We eat too much or drink too much to numb our anxiety. We zone out with TV or a book, or we throw ourselves into work; whether at home or on the job. (I am not saying that every time we throw ourselves into our work it is because of untreated anxiety.) We bite our fingernails or we’re full of nervous energy that is driving everyone around us crazy. Or, we talk and talk and talk to others about whatever is making us anxious instead of getting away somewhere and talking to God about it.
Here’s the deal. For those who hold tightly to the belief that we are not to pray about the ‘natural’ parts of our lives because……because why? Or because what? What are you hearing yourself say as you finish that sentence? Ask yourself this, why couldn’t I pray about everything? What would happen if I did? We’ve already looked at the situation where it was assumed that it was a bother to Jesus and He made it clear that it wasn’t AT ALL. Is it because we don’t want to admit we need help? Is it because we somehow see it as a weakness in ourselves as if we have failed somehow already? Do we feel foolish or awkward asking God for help? When we need it?
Bottom line: He truly does not want us to live with anxiety on any level because He knows it is not good for us physically, emotionally and spiritually. He deeply cares about all three of those parts of our being because he created them all. So, if the fact that you can’t find your keys or your cell phone or your wedding ring and it is causing you to be late somewhere you need to be or you need to make a call right now….you are anxious. And the Bible says to pray about that! Pray to find the keys, the phone, and the ring. If you are anxious about what is on your schedule for the day, talk to God about it. The list goes on and on.
I can already hear some of you dismissing this thought entirely because that is what you have been taught to do. But was what you were taught according to the Scripture? Or were traditions of men being taught as doctrine?
A verse comes to mind along this line. John 3:12
Jesus said, “I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?”
Jesus had spoken to them about earthly things! “Oh, Lord, help us believe You in the here and now of our lives and not just believe you in the things concerning heaven. You are God of heaven and earth.” (Prayer quoted from Praying God’s Word; Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds by Beth Moore.) I truly believe this is an area of unbelief.
I also see another big issue here: By listening to the teaching that we aren’t supposed to bother God with our ‘natural’ lives but only our spiritual lives, we were, in reality declaring how little faith we had in God. We didn’t believe He would care or get involved. Jesus said once that he couldn’t do many miracles because he saw little faith. (Matthew 13:58) Do we want to hinder His works on our behalf over a lack of faith in Him? I have seen and recognized these last year’s how truly little faith I really did have. I wasn’t relying on Him for hardly anything.
An incident comes to mind that happened sometime during the last 10 years or so. I was at a wedding reception of a young professing couple and was visiting with a woman and asking her about her ill mother. She said, “I know I’m not supposed to, but I have prayed that God would heal her.” She was clearly nervous about admitting that and my heart ached for her of course. I assured it was exactly the thing to do. In fact, the church could all be praying for her mother. She thought it would bother God and that it wasn’t something she was supposed to talk to Him about. It was her own precious mother!! And we think God doesn’t care?? Oh dear!! He cares more than we will ever comprehend. Oh, my friends, these types of things are burdens in life we were never meant to carry alone.
I think somewhere along the way many of us thought we were growing and going in the right direction if we could show God and others how well we were doing in life. How well we were keeping it all together. The smart choices we could make. The ability to live good, clean lives. To keep ourselves out of trouble and to have a good reputation and testimony. To keep clean houses and drive nice cars. We were showing God how good we were doing on our own because we believed we were on our own and because we wanted to please Him and we hoped that He would nod His approval our way now and then. We made sure we prayed morning and evening, read our Bibles and attended every scheduled meeting. We were showing God our lives but not involving God in our lives. We wanted Him to be a spectator of our lives from afar. We made sure we were doing enough; that was our constant motivator.
I wish I could find the words to convey how much our heavenly Father, our Abba Father, our truest Friend, our Creator, the Giver of Good Gifts, wants and longs to be involved in ALL parts of our lives. He lives within us as well as everywhere else at all times. He created us and knew us while we were still being formed in the womb. He has done everything possible to show us how much he loves us and is close to us. He has not sent us off to boarding school and only checks in with us every few weeks or months. He wants to hear from us often throughout our day because He wants to listen, to help, comfort, guide, and give us power and wisdom, strength, grace, words, peace, joy, love and acceptance.
One last thing: I’ve said this before but many years ago it was clear to me that the less I prayed about things, the fewer answers I had from God about things. And if I prayed generically, I received generic answers but the more specifically and detailed I prayed about something, the more specific and detailed answers I found from God. Once I got that clear, it has changed everything for me. Also, I mentioned at the beginning of this post about how we were taught to only pray about the spiritual part of our lives. What does that mean? We are ALL spiritual because one area affects the other area hugely. They cannot be separated and once I settled that, it also just opened up doors of understanding and thankfulness as never before. God sees us as a whole complete person; He isn’t compartmentalizing us and only seeing or caring about our ‘spiritual’ part. Praise Him for that!
I didn’t know when I started writing about this one subject that it would turn out to be so lengthy so obviously, I will have to address other verses later. Let me know your thoughts. I love hearing from you!