In the course of reading “Bittersweet” by Shauna Niequist, I was not expecting to get a two by four slapped across my face. But I did…nestled in this story of her celebrating her anniversary with her husband.
She makes this statement of “Praying for growth for someone else so that they could be what you need is not a proper response to the issues you are facing.” I wanted to talk back to her and let her know that it’s not true. You can pray for them to change and not you.
Yes I know intercessory prayer is something we should do…however, praying for their lives to change in order to address our needs we are not willing to change is a bigger issue. It is something I had to address. I had no control over another person in a situation. I could not make them suddenly become this powerful Christian in the blink of an eye, one that I needed as a shield and a rock. It bothered me too. (still does if I am honest) I had issues I needed them to be there for me about. I had these insecurities where if their growth were to come, would fully remove any of my doubts and fears, my issues.
I did not like her boldness in assuming it was me with the progress problem. Me with the prayer concern for growth. But in reality, it was. I was interceding out of selfishness. Out of a need to control. The reality of it was I needed to lean on the Rock that is Christ. I needed to curl up in His shelter and safety rather than depend upon someone else to be for me what could only be filled by Christ.
I keep going back to that sentence, to remind me now that prayer is about my relationship with Christ and the intimate conversation I get the privilege of having with Him. I also have the joy of interceding in prayer on others behalf. Unfortunately I had been misusing this blessing by thinking if I could pray change and growth in their lives, then they would be what I needed in my life. It’s a lesson I am continuing to learn, understand, and put into action.
Prayer is for us, for me and Christ to commune in a private way. My prayer is I would never take that for granted or advantage of that. I would push towards His changing me rather than my desiring a change of others first.
You can pick up Shauna Niequist’s books on Amazon or check your local library (I am all for libraries y’all!). She is a phenomenal author and a voice for those looking to be honest and open about change and grace in our lives when all we really want is some chocolate.
By the way, this book was recommended to me by a great writer and friend. Check out Dear Hanna! She’s like my own personal book whisperer.