I am going to be quite real with you today.
During the first seven months of 2000 I was beginning my walk with Christ. At first there was not much change in my life (of which I was aware, at least), but in July I realized I had not embraced Christ fully. In truth, even at that time I had yet to fully accept Christ’s embrace, but on the night of the 26th my worries diminished, my foul-language went away, and I actually began loving people instead of merely tolerating them.
My life in the ensuing years was a rather typical Western Christian story full of ups and downs, times of foundation rattling doubts and confirmations, times of great growth, and times of emotional and moral lows. 2005-2006 was one of the worst lows. My best friend from childhood came home from the Marine Corps, I was in a relationship with a worldly Christian, and things with work were frustrating. These were all really good and really not good things. I decided in June 2005 to try an experiment. I had seen many people living without God, so I decided that I would see how well I could live my life if I lived like God was not a part of it. It would only last a month … I thought.
Over roughly the next year and a half I began drinking and partying on a regular basis, smoking cigars and a pipe (and the occasional cigarette if the other two were not readily available), and sleeping with my then fiancée. I also stopped attending church almost all together, until the fall of 2006. It was November that I realized things were not right. I even had a prophetic word spoken over me about needing to cut out the things that were not right in my life and then seeing God drastically change my life. It was not until January 2007 that I finally realized fully how I had not fully allowed Christ to have me. I still needed to embrace Him as He was embracing me.
This is when the stupid prayers come in.
“Stupid prayers” are those prayers which are actually the best prayers you could ever pray, but the world and our sinful flesh would deem at best stupid and at worst dangerous.
- I prayed “Jesus, teach me what it means to repent!” This is a stupid prayer, because repentance always requires something is given up so that God has that much more room in your life. Keep this in mind: if there is something in your life that should not be, it is taking space from God. In essence, you allow that something to be God in that area of your life. I may have gained hours every day to worshiping God and getting things done, but my addiction to online pornography had to be abolished (Praise God, it was one of those instantaneous releases in my life! Remember, though, that my walk with Christ began in January 2000 and at the time of this prayer almost exactly seven years had passed). My movie collection was literally cut by two-thirds to remove the movies full of sex/nudity/blasphemous actions and words. Many of my friends had to be cut off. Repentance is not easy. It hurts a lot physically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially.
- I prayed “Make me Your disciple.” Read the first several verses of Matthew 5, the so-called Beatitudes. My repentance led into my discipleship. You cannot become a disciple of Christ until you repent of your sinful nature. It does not mean you will not have sin in your life afterward, but following Christ is seeking righteousness. Righteousness cannot include willful and blatant sin. To begin to grow in righteousness, you must let go of your desires. This initially caused in me deep depression (poor in spirit, mournful; verses 3-4) and many to think I was crazy and even verbally and physically attack me (see verses 10-12). I had family and friends think I had gone off the deep end, which, I must be honest, from April through early 2008, I had. Our God is faithful, however, and has brought me back into my right mind.
- I prayed “Make me holy as You are holy.” Holiness is being set apart. This gets back into people thinking you are crazy or in need of a good verbal or physical shower of abuse. The amazing thing about this is that God uses this to make you stronger (see Zechariah 13 and Malachi 3. He redeemed more than our souls on the cross! His whole goal is to redeem all of Creation, after all! Violence and abuse is included!), and He can and often uses you in these attacks as a witness which can lead the attackers to faith (see 5:13-16). If we are to be set apart, made holy, for God, it will require that our ties to this world must be removed and/or refined so that the sinful taint of our world does not affect our faith.
There are many stupid prayers. One that goes along with these is “Lord, teach me what it means to hate sin.” At times, it will feel like you hate yourself! Another is “Lord, teach me patience.” Many times He will give us opportunities to be patient instead of simply giving us patience! Again, “Lord, teach me what it is to love others.” As the pastor at church says frequently, “Some people are EGR’s: those for whom there is Extra Grace Required.” He will always help you to grow, but sometimes He sends into your life people who need more patience and love and grace just to be around them.
I strongly suggest everyone prays these simple yet “stupid” prayers, but always ensure you have strong believers in your life who can help you through. If you have prayed these and other “stupid” prayers, you know what mean.
What stupid prayers have you prayed?
What stupid prayers do you need to pray?
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Daniel Klem blogs regularly over at A Simple Man of God, where he describes himself as an “apparent poet, reluctant yet passionate Disciple (Peter?), and foolish man attempting to understand theology!” Take a few minutes to read around his blog, and let him know you stopped by!