So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:1-8 ESV).
Bucky Rowland, one of my best friends, is the Sheriff of Maury County, Tennessee. When I first met him he was the K-9 Drug Enforcement Officer. After his election to sheriff of the county he remarked how many more meetings he was required to have in that position. He also said that a clear agenda was essential to accomplishing the goals for the department. As I was reading today’s passage again I was reminded of how often our prayer agenda is either wrong, or just absent. I found the picture above and thought maybe the best way to have a meeting is with guns drawn. That certainly would settle any disagreements!
When we pray, we have no weapons to equal the power of our God. That should help us to recognize that the agenda is God’s, not mine. The pouring out of our hearts in prayer is an emptying of ourselves to be open to receive what God wants of us. This is the mind of Christ, who did not pursue equality with God but “emptied himself” to be a humble servant, obedient to God (Philippians 2:5-8).
The attitude of prayer is surrender. Rather than grasping what I want, I should yield to God’s will. In the prayer of surrender I become an clear reflection of God’s image. I open myself to experience what God desires, surrendering my agenda in love to God. The prayer of surrender will sometimes use words that express praise and thanksgiving, confession and intercession. Sometimes it will be a wordless silence, waiting upon God’s Spirit to speak. Sometimes it will let go of every thought of our own, to simply consent to the loving presence and healing action of God within. Our relationship of love with God is beyond words. Neither our imagination nor our analytical thinking can truly fathom God. We come to know God by receiving the love of Christ. We take the humble position of a recipient, emptied of selfishness, ready to be transformed by the grace and love of Christ. Check your agenda today. Pray selflessly.
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