Thursday, January 29, 2015
Davis Motor Sales banner ad
Posted on 2/2/14

ronniemcbrayer300 cKENTUCKY (11/17/13) - One of my sons has a motto by which he attempts to live his life. It is: “Never submit.” I can attest that he practices this maxim rigorously, and it serves him well in many situations, giving him grit and determination. But at the point that he cannot impose his demands upon people and situations, bending these to his liking (and he reaches this point routinely), then “Never Submit” leads to a dark and dangerous place.

Nevertheless, my boy is at least speaking the truth, as only youngsters can. And the truth reaches well beyond himself. This is precisely how many of us live. We are stubborn, obstinate, and pigheaded. We refuse to submit – not to authority, the rules, or a way of life that would make our days lighter, easier, and healthier – and not even to God. This shows up, most noticeably, when we pray.

Prayer, if you haven’t detected it for yourself, can be very self-centered. We approach God, not with a view of letting go of ourselves, to receive and live the life he has for us. We approach God with the mantra, “Never Submit.” Our prayers are scripturally-laced ransom letters, demanding the Almighty to do things our way; to meet us where we are; to comply with our plans.

Sure, prayer is a way of bringing our needs and requests to God, but sometimes, being human as we are, we can’t tell the difference between what we want and what we need. We mistake our preferences, as wholesome as these appear, for what we require. We cling to our personal agendas, and conveying these to God, require him to make us as comfortable as possible, comfort achieved as he yields to our wishes.

Such an attitude is not unlike the act of checking into a luxurious penthouse. We want something to eat, so room service is called and the kitchen goes into full operational mode to bring us whatever we want when we want it. Our favorite shirt is dirty. No problem, send for the maid. She will quickly take it to the laundry and return it before dinner.

Do you need a cab? Ring the bell; the concierge lives to serve you. Not enough clean towels? Want your bed made twice a day? Need an extra chocolate on your pillow at bedtime? It’s easy-peasy: Pick up the phone and the management will be happy to attend to your every whim and impulse.

Does prayer really work this way? I don’t think so. Prayer is not a method for getting everything we want. Rather, it is the means by which we surrender to what God wants. It is an act of submission; the letting go of our will, to be shaped by God’s will.

Really, what good is prayer if it isn’t changing the one who prays? Because if prayer only feeds our narcissism and the human tendency to self-aggrandize our egos, I seriously doubt that God is doing very much listening. Why would he? If all we want is a change of circumstances, be it in regards to our health, finances, job, church, spouse or a hundred other things, we miss the point that God seems more interested in changing us, rather than changing our surroundings.

I love the image painted by the great Methodist missionary E. Stanley Jones. He said, “Suppose you go fishing early one morning, and launch your little boat into the water. After a while, you are finished, and you wish to return home. What do you do?” He answers, “You throw a line to shore and begin to pull. Are you pulling the entire landmass to yourself, or are you being pulled to the shore?” The answer to his question is as enlightening as it is obvious.

Prayer is not pulling God to ourselves, to our will, or to our way of seeing and doing things. It is compliance to the will of God, as he pulls our lives in his direction. It is orienting our entire existence to his direction. It is submission, always.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

January 28, 2015 16149

UPDATED: Several Involved in Two-Vehicle Accident

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 23, 2015 9880

Local Church's Faith Restored; 71 Souls Saved…

in Video by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
January 26, 2015 6798

KSP Arrests Two on Child Porn Charges; MPD…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Trooper Stu Recke
January 25, 2015 6661

Dean’s List Announced

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Joyce Riggs
January 23, 2015 6078

Parents Face Charges after Marijuana Joint Falls…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 28, 2015 5841

Nortonville Man Accused of Meth Possession,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
January 23, 2015 4860

Nortonville Woman Charged for Meth Possession

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office/Hopkins County Detention Center
January 26, 2015 4503

School Board Votes 3-2 for Utility Tax

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

January 08, 2015 21709

Woman Claiming to be 'Lady Gaga' Tours Town in…

in Top News For All Sites by Madisonville Police Department
January 15, 2015 21439

UPDATE: Fatality Victim's Name Officially Released

in Top News For All Sites by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Today

January 28, 2015 16149

UPDATED: Several Involved in Two-Vehicle Accident

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 28, 2015 5841

Nortonville Man Accused of Meth Possession,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
January 28, 2015 3745

Tax Recall Committee Formed Day After School…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
January 28, 2015 2529

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Jan. 28, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
January 27, 2015 2359

Whitfield Works to Combat Prescription Drug Abuse

in General News For All Sites by Marty Irby
January 29, 2015 2098

UPDATE - Students Have until Jan. 31 to Enter…

in General News For All Sites by James R. Comer
January 28, 2015 2085

Muhlenberg District Court Fines Handed Down

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
January 29, 2015 1974

Man Charged with Sexual Abuse of Child

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 28, 2015 1789

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

in Hopkins News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office
January 28, 2015 1334

Old City Hall Space to be 'First United Bank…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 28, 2015 1316

Letter to the Editor - Month of Mentors

in Hopkins News by Mallory D. Johnson
January 28, 2015 1306

Kentucky Lottery Results for Tuesday Jan. 27, 2015

in General News For All Sites by Kentucky Lottery