The most universally practiced act, yet the least understood human experience – Prayer – is one of the great mysteries Christian’s practice. In its’ most simple definition is just communication with God. Yet so many times we approach prayer like a one-way conversation with us at the speaking end. This week we’ll see how prayer works in the picture of us becoming more and more uncommon. This week we’re seeing how the uncommon woman chooses prayer over pettiness.
So many times we approach difficult situations with the intent that we’re going to make things right…according to whatever definition of “right” is working for us at the moment. So many times our determination of what is right hinges on our feelings and not the facts…we saw that in our previous chapters.
In our attempt to become more uncommon we’ve seen that we should:
1. Base our actions on truth rather than perception…and
2. Give mercy in hard situations instead of standing in judgment.
But what about those feelings that are still left behind….well….that’s when we pray! It seems that if we can accomplish those first two techniques, the natural next step with what to do with those feelings that are left behind is to choose to pray instead of being petty.
Here’s how Susie puts it on page 127…”People are fickle. Groupthink is a powerful force. When we listen to others spew their condemning opinions about others, our own thoughts begin to run wild. And when our thoughts are no longer held at bay by our holy convictions, words start to flow. And when words start to flow, so goes the current of petty behavior and wrong perspectives. If we’re not careful, we will get swept up in a movement that seems right, but in the end leads to death.” And the Bible warns us of this in Proverbs 16:25.
If we face our issues with other people in a conversation with God, we will instead change the spiritual atmosphere around us. At the very beginning of this chapter Susie begins by retelling the story of David and Saul in the Old Testament when David was being relentlessly pursued by Saul. Fearing for his life, David ran for his life. Then came a day where David had the opportunity to put a finish to the run by taking Saul’s life…and what did he do? Nothing…and everything. At the time when David was taking flight for his life…he prayed. He walked closely with God, he hid in His shelter.
How many times do we come out swinging over something petty instead of bowing our heads and praying for the situation? Spending time with God gives us perspective on our situation. Spending time in prayer give insight into what God’s plans are and reminds us again of His plan and His love for us.
Every time another woman bothers us we are faced with a choice. Every time. We can either pray for the things we see in her (and ask that we would have more grace for others), or we can carry a grudge with us so the next time her name comes up, we have something to throw in the pile.
How many times have you spoken too soon and unleashed a whirlwind of chatter and drama that never needed to happen? The by-product of a mis-spoken word is ANXIETY! How much anxiety are you responsible for putting into play.
Most people get to us when we are not right. But when we’re walking closely with God and spending time with Him, His peace will rule in our hearts. And what’s in our heart will come out of our mouth!
Over and over again the Bible tells us to remember what God has done on our behalf. And it’s when we remember what God has done that we are more likely to do what He would do. This is the whole thought behind communion. When we are in those situation where we are likely to be pulled off course He is there with a continual reminder that we are His….He says to us Remember this…Remember us….Remember me. Shake of pettiness and pursue the higher road of prayer.
What About You?
Here are some practical questions I’ll walk through with my class. (As always…when you join me live you get the goofy stories from my everyday life.)
1. Read Ephesians 4:29 “…Let your words be an encouragement to those who hear them…”
One of the great temptations for women is what Susie calls “selective sharing.” When we share the dirt on a woman with someone we know already dislikes her, that’s selective sharing. Wehen we’ve been bumped by a woman, and we share news with someone who has been shove by her, that’s selective sharing. When we selectively give information to someone to add weight to our criticism, that’s selective sharing. Read Eph. 4:29 and ponder its meaning in regard to this issue.
- What is the uncommon thing to do?
- How is this adding to the weight of our own accountability?
2. Read Psalm 119:11
What sorts of things are hiding in your heart? In one way or another they will find their way out of your mouth. Rewrite this verse in your own words.
3. Read verses Numbers 14:5, 16:4, 16:22, 16:45, 20:6
- What was Moses and Aaron’s consistent response in each of these circumstances?
- Why do you think they responded that way?
4. Write Luke 16:28 in a prayer form asking God to transform you into His likeness.
We’ll end our classes with this prayer from your book.
I ask Your forgiveness for every time I’ve chosen pettiness over prayer. Forgive me for so easily giving in to catty thoughts and useless words. I long to be an uncommon woman. I am an uncommon woman! Fill me up afresh with a sense of Your love and holiness. Compel me to walk in a more noble way. Draw me to prayer. Speak to me when I’m there. And help me to listen. I want to change the world by the way that I love. Thank You for leaving me with such a tangible example of what true and humble love looks like. Continue Your good work in me. In your name, I pray. Amen.”
Next week – Chapter 9 where as an Uncommon Woman I will not be bullied by my fears.
If you’d like to join this study in real time…I’m teaching it at HopePark Wednesday Mornings & Thursday Nights. If you’re a Nashville local, the door is always open. We’re at 8001 Hwy. 70 South, just off I-40. Online at http://hopepark.com and on twitter @hopepark.
Me…well you can find me twittering @jodytodd.
Have a great week!
Questions and assigned quotes from the study by Susie Larson entitled The Uncommon Woman.