photo from: glitter-mountain.blogspot.com
When you pray, do you stick to stick to generalities? We often do. “Lord let your will be done” we’ll gladly say –but we don’t want to say what we hope His will entails.
Sometimes we don’t like to be specific. Our hearts are closely tied to details, and when we share those details with others we become vulnerable to:
- Disappointment– as details matter and it’s hard when they aren’t what we hope
- Judgmental Attitudes– as we or others neglect the little picture for the big one
- Becoming Self-Entitled –as with “name it, claim it” false theology
- Feeling Ungrateful –as happens when we refuse contentment because we’re picky
- Giving the Wrong Impression –as if the details must be our way
The Lord recently seized my heart on this matter. Sparing you the specifics (I know, I know, but it’s for the sake of time and others involved!) God recently asked me to do something specific.
It wasn’t the usual conviction through the words of others or lessons from the Bible or watching His plans unfold around me –I asked the Lord about a matter and His answer was a pointed, straight-from-the-Spirit conviction..Praise the Lord that it wasn’t long after I obeyed that He affirmed His direction through the avenues I’m more accustomed to –loved ones, His Word, timing, circumstances…
But here’s what hit me: God can ask me to do something so specific because we have an intimate relationship. Because of that intimacy, trust, and unconditional love, I can be specific with Him, too.
My relationship with God doesn’t depend on getting what I want out of it or vice versa at any point –even in the details. That’s because our relationship is sealed by the blood of Christ. Disappointment, judgement, fleshly feelings, and false impressions have no chance at wrecking the assurance of Christ.
Realities like these make it feel less risky to be specific –and not just in prayer.
Relationships with our loved ones can’t have the unconditional, perfect, flawless traits that being near to the Lord does. However, intimate human relationships can exhibit many similar characteristics, like acceptance, understanding, humility, and commitment.
It’s in relationships like these –that are close, safe, healthy, and godly- that we also find that getting specific and sharing in details is powerful and a wonderful blessing. Have you experienced this?
Have you ever had an argument with a spouse just to discover that ultimately you wanted the same thing but neither of you were being specific enough to make that clear? Or have you found yourself missing out on some event because no one involved was willing to voice their specific preference?
Two guys I love dearly are famous for this. As adults they can still have entire days pass saying to each other “I don’t care, what do you want to do?” But they do care. At very least, they care about not wasting the time they share!
I also think of those precious moments –which I hope many others have had- when a friend calls and shares her hopes, her sorrows, and her struggle present tense and not past. When she tears up or gets more honest than you “should” be comfortable with, but the understanding is there: your relationship has grown so intimate that the details can be safely shared. They won’t be misunderstood or mishandled, but will be held dear: prayed over, wept over, laughed over, rejoiced over.
One of my dear friends described the desire for that kind of relationship well: we all want others to care as deeply as we do about the things that are closest to our hearts. Those things are all bound up in details.
Here’s the good news: God does. He cares enough to ask for specifics at times. He cares enough to hear our every specific prayer and desire and hurt and to feel for us –while also answering perfectly. Just think how He is the God of detail!
His world is one of order. It’s one of such fine detail that a single second pause in a valve opening in the heart can wreak havoc….a single butterfly wing beating has a (minute!) effect on the earth spinning…the numbers of stars, their places, their names…all God.
He is so specific! Read the instructions for building the temple. Examine the law. Every Word of His is so perfect, precise, and in line with detail that none can be added or subtracted. He can work all things together for our good using those little details.
The Lord fashioned us after Himself. We’re made to care about details, we’re made with specific personalities, preferences, gifts, and more. We are also made to enjoy the benefits of those specifics in relationship with God and others.
Remember that “everything exposed by the light becomes visible–and everything that is illuminated becomes a light” (Ephesians 5:13.)
In intimate relationships, specifics illuminate the stuff in the dark. They also illuminate more of other’s hearts and lead to even brighter relationships.
Also, Lauren over at Sobremesa Stories wrote a fantastic, convicting post on being brave and getting specific in prayer. She reminds us that God already knows those specifics and doesn’t despise the desires of our hearts. Further, she highlights that we can yield those details to God and still love and follow Him when they don’t turn out as we hope. Highly recommended!