Me, Me, Me ...

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It’s so easy to rush into God’s presence thinking only of ourselves and our requests – and then wonder why we didn’t “break through” to God, but came away feeling empty.

Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. (Psalm 115:1)

Me, me, me … That sums up so much about western society today: it is utterly “me”-oriented. Just look at the world of advertising: most of it is about how “I” can feel better, how “I” can look better, how “I” can be thought of better by others. Or consider people’s attitudes: “I” have a right to this or that; “I” have a right to sue someone else; “I” have a right to certain luxuries in life. Me, me, me …

The trouble is, this so easily spills over into our spiritual life. Consider, for example, some of our modern hymns and songs (many of which, we hasten to say, we love!). So many of them focus on “me”; on how I feel in God’s presence; on how I need God’s love; on how I respond to Jesus – rather than being God-focused. Worship then so easily becomes about “me” and not about Him at all.

And the same can be true of our praying. It’s so easy to rush into God’s presence thinking only of ourselves and our requests – and then wonder why we didn’t “break through” to God but came away feeling empty. We went looking for God as the divine “Father Christmas,” and were surprised to find he was not at home that day. What a contrast this is to how Jesus taught us to begin our praying: “Our Father in heaven … ” Real prayer begins with the Father, not with me, me, me…

So, when praying today, don’t start with “me”; start with “Him.” It will put things wonderfully in perspective. And if your thoughts wander back to yourself all too soon, then take hold of them, “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5), for focusing on God, on His character and nature, rather than on our own sin or needs, is what transforms our praying.

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26)

© Copyright 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont

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