Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. Luke 18:1
When we relinquish our prayers to God, we let go of a tight grip on what we want. However, relinquishing does not mean forgetting what we want. Rather, we hold what we want loosely before God. We lift up our requests to God in open hands. With palms up and open, we can still hold what we want without grasping it. With this posture in mind, we can persevere in our prayers.
We need to pray for the ability to humble ourselves. We may wonder if God even is able to teach us humility. This realization shows an awareness of how far we need to go to gain true humility. For those of you who think you are humble or else not far from it, I would wonder about that. : )
God has not given up on us. We need to believe that He is perfecting us just as He says in His word (Hebrews 12:2). He is transforming us (Romans 12:2). We are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). He has taken ownership of us (John 17:10, 20, 24). He has gone so far as to even pay for all of our sins by sending His Own Son to die on the cross for us (Romans 5:8). He will help us learn humility.
We might pray for many things besides humility, such as a new job or career, more money, or relational issues. Consider this, a million years from now whatever work we did or how much money we made or how many possessions we may have acquired in this life will no longer matter. However, our humility will still be precious in God’s sight.
Humility aids us in this life with relational issues. Imagine humbling self and saying to someone with whom we were having a conflict, “I was wrong. I’m sorry. Would you please forgive me?” How would saying this affect that relationship? With the history we have with some people, they might think we were joking them. Let’s assume they actually believe us. Saying the above might diffuse some tension in the relationship (perhaps just some slight chance of that—if you’re wondering, I’m joking).
In our perfectionism we think, “I’m not wrong, and I’m not sorry!” Humility gives us the grace to see another person’s perspective and to say we are sorry. We need to pray for this kind of humility.
I relate the following story to illustrate what I’m saying. We bought a house recently, very good news to us. At many points I wondered if we were going to be able to buy it. Many factors hindered us. A friend of ours even told me that there was no way we could buy it unless we paid for it in cash or else came up with a large amount of money for a down-payment, more than we could feasibly acquire. God gave me Psalm 37, and I prayed every day out of it. It gave me hope and courage to move forward.
In the process I had to let go of some of my perceived “rights” such as purchase price and having my preference in lender. I often did not get my way, but in the end we did get this house. That feels like a miracle. Now our house is turning into a home. God has given us grace along the way, and we needed it.
I’m glad we have a new home, but the real victory comes from learning to humble myself rather than acquiring property. Humility will remain forever while this world will eventually be destroyed.
Humility does not feel natural. It goes against our sin nature as well as the world in which we live. True humility is born of God. We need to persevere in praying humility for ourselves.
Praying for myself and also for you,
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