I have come to a realization. Way too often, my prayer life focuses on other people when I should be focusing on myself. Let me clarify. Obviously, I pray for other people in the ways that I should...praying for health, for salvation. That is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the prayers I pray trying to fix everyone. Well, not everyone. Pretty much just my children.
There is a pattern. Life is good. Prayer life good. Devotions good. Something happens with one of my children. Here comes the fear, worry, anxiety. Of course, I can fix it or him or her. Of course I am supposed to fix it. Let them learn from their own mistakes? Let them suffer natural consequences? Why would I do that when I can participate in giving them the perfect life I believe they should have?
Of course, my efforts are in vain. This life isn't perfect. But it takes me awhile to admit defeat. Here is where my prayers begin to shift. "Dear Lord, please change this about this child. I know life would be so much easier if this child didn't have to deal with (insert issue here)." The prayers continue. Sometimes I even start explaining to God why it is a good idea to answer these prayers. "This child could better serve you if you fix this." "Please fix this for me because then I will stop worrying. I know worrying is wrong. If you will take care of this then I won't have to worry."
Wow. Ouch. It hurts to reread these words. In my head, I know I need to be praying for me and my issues. "Lord, please forgive my lack of faith. Please forgive my anxious heart. Please increase my faith. Please give me wisdom." Yep. That is more like it. I know this. So why do I fall back into those other ruts time and time again? I know why. I do. But it is still frustrating.
I love my children. But I need to be careful with the "my" that precedes children. Because they really belong to God. Knowing how much I love them and how much I want them to have a good life, I know that the love God has for them is incomprehensible. It is when I get too wrapped up in the "my" that I allow that fear, worry and anxiety to creep in.
I do want to do right by my children. But more importantly, I want to do right by God. And his idea of my doing right does not always coincide with my ideas. When I fall on my knees and cry out to God for His children, seeking His will for them and not mine, praying for my faith to be increased, asking for guidance, only then can I get this mixed-up prayer life back the way it should be.