Earlier this week, we sat down as a family to pray. Our church has committed to praying 24/7 for the month of February and I thought it would be good for us to go as a family. The idea was met with some protest but not downright refusal, so that was a bonus!
I decided to take a large piece of flip chart paper along and a couple of marker pens, to aid us (or at least pass some of the 60 minutes, which suddenly seemed like an awful long time with a 9 and 12 year old!). We began by writing some of the things we were thankful for....our home, money, job, school, friends, holidays. Quite easy really, we are very blessed.
Then we turned the paper over and decided to write some 'asks'. We took it in turns to pick up the pen and as time went on, we got a little more personal in our requests. My daughter prompted this by writing things she would like to change about her behaviour. As she wrote, she said: "I guess in a way, this is down to me, not God but I'll write it anyway".
Do you ever feel as though you're striving? To be fitter, to be more patient, to stop swearing, to be a better spouse, to be kinder to others? I know that I do and I often attempt at doing this in my own strength, instead of turning to God who is more than able.
I honestly think that God honours the recognition of failure on our part; when we admit that actually we are not doing a great job of being a decent human being and need help. Isn't this what the Holy Spirit is for? I reminded my daughter that the bible promises that if we ask for it, we will be given the fruits of His spirit:
Peace, Joy, Love, Patience, Self-Control, Faithfulness, Goodness, Kindness, Gentleness.(Galations 5 v 22)
All the ingredients needed for a perfect human being. Of course we will always fall short of Jesus' perfection but if we would only ask for it, He will help us. And that's what I told my daughter: that Jesus longs for us to ask for His help in the everyday and that little by little, if we admit defeat, He will change us from the inside out. A great reminder for us all, I think.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
1 Corinthians 12 v 9.