Spiritual Director · May 10, 2017

Devote #31

When our children were small, a couple of them had difficulty in making decisions. It was almost like the end of the world had come when they were faced with deciding what they wanted to eat, or what they wanted to wear, or which TV program they wanted to watch.

So I implemented a new rule. I would give them two choices and only two choices, but they had to pick one of them. “Do you want Cheerios or Rice Chex? Do you want the pink outfit or the blue one? Do you want to watch SpongeBob or Ducktales?” One way or another I was going to help them make a decision. They only got two choices and very little time to decide and they had to make a decision.

Sometimes there were tears because the decision was just too difficult. Sometimes when the two options weren’t in their liking there were even some tantrums, which didn’t move me. I was bent on getting a decision made so we could move on to the next thing.

Here’s where I’m going with this. What I did with my children is pretty much the same thing we do with God. We go to Him in prayer and we give Him our options for what we want.

We don’t literally say this out loud, but our prayers could be interpreted like this… “Dear God, here are your two choices. Please pick one and make it happen for me. Get er done!”

That came to mind as I read this in the Bible this morning…
“You are my God. Show me what You want me to do, and let Your gentle Spirit lead me in the right path.” Psalm 143:10 CEV

Please notice the writer didn’t say, “Let me show You what I want done…” Many times our prayers sound like, “God, here are my options. So tell me which one you want – and just so you know let me tell You which one I want.” Somehow we’ve lost the concept of making our request known to God and then asking Him what He has in mind for our lives.

I do know that our Father loves hearing our idea and our plans – though at time I believe they give Him a bit of a chuckle. The problem comes in when we move from sharing to demanding that our great God choose from our options.

Part of that is due to our lack of understanding that He’s God and we’re not. Part of that is also due to our thinking we’re entitled to talk to God that way. And part of that is due to us not believing that He knows what’s best for us.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: As you pray, pray without a decision… pray without an agenda… pray without your will overriding His will. Pray like the psalm writer… “Show me what You want me to do…” And then… Do it!

Show me what You want me to do, and let Your gentle Spirit lead me in the right path. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.