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Sunday, September 2, 2007

Prayer in Context

As I was lamenting current situations in my professional and personal life, a mentor and friend said, “Are you praying about it?” My immediate response was “Yes,” but then I had to think. Am I really praying about it? Or am I complaining to God about it? Am I praying for answers, or am I praying to vent? Am I praying with the intent my heart will be changed, or am I praying that others and circumstances will be changed?

In another blog today (I am so sorry I don’t remember whose) I read that in America Christians pray for the problems to be removed off their back, but in other countries Christians pray for their backs to be made stronger. I have not been praying for a stronger back; I have been praying for a lighter load. And, that wouldn’t be a bad thing I suppose if I was truly following Matthew 11:29-30, which says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." But, if I look deep into my soul, I have to admit that I’m not taking upon Christ’s yoke, I am trying to throw off any and all yokes. But, what is a yoke? The definitions I found are that a yoke is (1) wooden bar or frame by which two draft animals are joined at the heads or necks for working together, and (2) a clamp or similar piece that embraces two parts to hold or unite them in position.

My goodness! I need a yoke! What a blessing to be joined together with Christ for the purpose of working together! And, I want to be embraced by Christ and united with Him! I have been looking at my burdens all wrong, and praying about them with the wrong intent.

It’s just like reading the Bible in context and really seeking to understand what God is saying (rather than what we’d like Him to say or what we think He should say). Hebrews 12:1-3 reads, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” This passage says to throw off everything that hinders us …not to just throw off everything. And, it admonishes us to run the race marked out for us…not the race we want to run or think we should run or the path that looks the best. The passage tells us to consider the opposition Christ encountered and that we should not grow weary or lose heart. I have been praying for removal of the opposition…removal of the yoke…without realizing what the yoke is really for. It is not to restrain me, it is to guide me alongside Christ, to join me with Him.

I have much to be praying children, my marriage, my occupation, my finances, my future…but I’ve been lax in praying about my heart in these situations; I’ve neglected to ask God to strengthen my back to be able to carry the yoke; I haven’t considered the opposition Christ endured and counted myself blessed to be in His company. And, thanks to God, that my opposition isn’t the same as His, but that He cares just as much about my life and my hurts…and your’s…that He willingly puts on that yoke to carry it with us.


Dawn said...

I came over here tonight after reading your comment to Diane of Partners in Prayer for our Prodigals. I am from Loveland, just up the road from you. My son and I have written our story about his prodigal journey and his deliverance from serious drug addiction. If you want to be encouraged, feel free to come over and click on our story on my sidebar.

I love your thoughts today.

Sharon Lynne said...

Hi Michelle,

It's so nice to meet you! Thank you for visiting my blog. I love this YOKE post. Thank you for pointing out that we strive WITH Christ, together, hitched to his yoke. (which is lighter than doing it on our own). This is a good reminder to me! Thanks!

I am going through the SAME THING regarding parental disunity. Sometimes the pain of not being on the same page as my husband is worse than the burden of my son being on the wrong road. My husband is also hard on my eldest son, and I, too, worry...but I know God wants me to trust him. That's so hard!!

My email is Please feel free to email me, as perhaps we could support each other in this area.

Penless Thoughts said...

Wonderful post and excellent reminder.