Okay, I admit that I’ve done it and I admit that it drives me crazy — this generic praying that asks God to bless this and that and him and her. “Lord, bless the missionaries in Africa and all the people in my family and the Dallas Cowboys. Amen.”
Yes, sometimes we can truly mean “bless” and then using the term is powerful — kind of like the terms “love” and “friend” and “hope” when used well. Often, though, I’m afraid this word — like God’s name and a lot of other religious verbiage — becomes, at the least, a cliché and at the worst, a replacement for “um and uhh.”
Go beyond that to the “bless me” praying that includes a pretty self-centered view of life and, well, don’t get me started. Oh, right. Too late.
Earlier today a Facebook post from Mindy in Fishers, Indiana knocked me on my proverbial butt (I was already sitting down, literally). This is something that she read to her 4 kids this morning from a children’s devotional book. I’m pretty sure I need this book myself.
Don’t ask Me to bless what you have already decided to do. Ask Me what I want for you. I may fill your heart with a dream that seems impossibly far beyond reach. And that dream will be bigger than anything you can do on your own. But remember, *nothing* is beyond My reach. Yes, you will mess up sometimes, and you will make mistakes. But when you depend on Me, I will use your mistakes to grow your faith and to help you win…..My way!
How different would our lives be if this were the posture we’d take every day: “God, show me what you want of me and give me courage to do it even knowing I can’t!”
That’s what I want to be when I grow up — a woman who seeks hard after God’s heart and is transformed by His dreams finding fulfillment in my willing obedience that worries more about missing out on His best than on looking silly or feeling inadequate.
NOTE: I don’t know what book Mindy was reading. I’m pretty sure it was not any one of these whose covers I’ve used as illustrations. I’m also not condemning these books particularly. I have no idea whether they are self-centered or God-focused. I just wanted to illustrate the “bless me” thinking that pervades our cultural thinking.