Thursday, October 27, 2016

Transforming My Prayers: Desiring Ease to Desiring Growth

By Kait Toepper

Last Saturday morning at 7:00 am, my eyes shot open, and before I rolled out of bed to start another busy day, I remained still, under my fluffy, white cloud-like comforter. And as I lay on my side, staring out my window, I tried to decipher the time of day based on the color and brightness of the sun. And I thought to myself, I hope my day is easy.

I am embarrassed to tell you, friend, how many times I pray driving to work, “Dear Jesus,” I start, breathing in and out, both hands on the steering wheel driving up the windy canyon, “I pray that today at work my day is easy and that nobody gets mad at me.”

Even as I write that, I don’t like it. My sweet mentor and friend Michele challenged me the other day with this question, “Are you praying and hoping for the things that a God can do, or are you praying and hoping for things that anyone can do?”

I want to be a woman who prays BIG, leading to big, life-changing transformations. 

I want to pray for and believe for things only God can do. I need to be drawn away from “please-make-my-day-easy” prayer, and closer to “please-blow-me-away-and-turn-my-life-upside-down” prayer. I must bravely admit a problem resides in my heart when the greatest prayer request I can muster on my way to work is for comfort and ease.

Have you ever been to a fair where someone big and strong steps up to throw a hammer down, with all his or her strength on a platform? It’s usually connected to something tall coming out of the ground that measures the strength of your swing, the lowest level reads “wimpy”, or something mean and sad, and the highest level reads  “CHAMP” or another name that wins you the giant teddy bear. When I Googled “carnival game that measures strength” Google called it “The Hammer Game,” so I’ll go with that.

I wish that Jesus could put a “Hammer Game” next to my front door, but not to measure the strength of my muscular swing. What I need is an alert system that tells me every morning how I’m doing on my prayers. 

Am I going big, asking for the impossible to happen on earth, to be shaken awake from the drowsiness I live in, or am I barely swinging the hammer today?

When my fiancĂ© and I got engaged we started asking, “What’s next?” I found myself craving newness, adventure, something different. 

“My only requirement is that we go somewhere, and do something that is uncomfortable,” I told him. 

He agreed, and in five months, we are moving to Central America for a year and working with a ministry to help build connections between churches. We decided to intentionally choose a path taking us further from our comfortable life with our well-paying jobs and cozy apartments, to a risky, adventurous, uncomfortable place. My biggest fear with moving has nothing to do with the amenities that we won’t have, but that we won't be willing to change our attitudes and be open to what God has for us. I am scared we won’t allow ourselves to be shaped and molded, even when forcing ourselves into it.

My prayer for myself, and for you, is Jesus would let his Holy Spirit be an alarm system in our brains. When I ask Jesus to please let this conversation or that conversation go well, I hope I will hear the bells ringing and be yanked out of my too-quickly-satisfied requests, into something bigger. So many days I miss the big picture, that a living God transforms lives. Praying small isn’t good enough for me anymore. I desire that the Holy Spirit would gently push me out of my comfortable place when I want to stay. 

I know discomfort will cause growth, but I’m ready to grow.

Kaitlyn is a curly-haired wedding planner at the Wedgewood on Boulder Creek, who loves to laugh at her own jokes. She lives in Boulder, eats a lot of sweet cow, and is marrying the hottest guy she knows in just a few months, then moving to Cuba.

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