I feel I am learning the same lesson over and over from different sources. Here is an excellent excerpt from article by Tony Stolfus. Tony has written several books and leads a ministry called Coach22. To read the full article please click – http://www.coach22.com/newsletters/10-13teachmetopray.pdf
Teach Me to Pray! By Tony Stoltzfus Adapted from Questions For Jesus
Most of us as grew up learning to pray about the business of being a Christian. We ask for help to do the right thing, pray that our relatives will know God, or petition him to bless what we are doing for him. We ask forgiveness (at best) or grovel (at worst) about the things we do wrong, and return repeatedly for direction and confirmation so we’re certain we know what we’re supposed to do….
Tony goes on to elaborate on his experience of prayer and how he came to the end of himself and his own resources and turned to God to learn to pray.
So how did he (God) teach me to pray? I’ll save the painful part where he tore down my existing devotional life for later, and skip to when I started to tune into something new. One key moment was when I asked him what to do in a challenging coaching session. “Jesus, I’m not sure what approach to take with this person. What do you want me to do?” It was one of those, ‘Oh-Jesus-I-feel-inadequate-please-please-help-me prayers’. But his reply surprised me: “Why are you asking me? I like watching you function.”
Wait a minute—he enjoys letting me decide and watching me be who I am? What about God’s will and all that? A big old chunk of my paradigm of relating with God was that you talk to God so he can tell you what you are supposed to do. This hinted at something really different—what was I missing?
The image I needed to grasp from what he was saying had already been planted in my life by a decade-long career as a life coach. From years of experience, I absolutely knew that asking was more powerful than telling, and that believing in someone’s ability to think for themselves produced more questions for Jesus, change and better results than giving them advice. I was totally committed to not being a teller. But could it be that I’d spent my life trying to get God to be a teller for me, and that wasn’t his style at all?
This is the same lesson I am learning through Dallas Willard’s material on Hearing God and The Divine Conspiracy. For some reason, we have been taught and sold a bill of goods that seems like God just wants us to be good, to be like robots and “tow the line.” How sad that the God of love, the God who put the Universe in motion is reduced to that. He created us to have fellowship with Him.
Now, let’s pray.