I enjoy reading blogs and have a long list of blogs I follow. One topic I notice a lot on blogs this time of year is people talking about their “word” for the year—words such as intentional, hope, and joy. That started me thinking about what my word would be, and I decided on the word DEPENDENCE—or more specifically—Dependence on God (though that is really three words).
Dependence is how I want to live my life this year. For the past three months, my life has been chaotic. My husband changed jobs, we had a baby, we put our house on the market, sold it and moved to another, and for almost two months straight, one of my three kids was sick. I think I had made it to church maybe three times in those three months. It was hard. There were many days I would literally look up at the ceiling and say to God, “I need your help!” BUT when things are going well, it is very easy for me to forget that need for dependence. I seem all too independent, like I can do life without God. I would never say that, but my actions speak differently.
I think a great example of living a life of dependence can be found in Mark 12:41-44. I’ll be reading from the International Children’s Bible because I like its simplicity.
Jesus sat near the Temple money box where people put their gifts. He watched the people put in their money. Many rich people gave large sums of money. Then a poor widow came and gave two very small copper coins. These coins were not worth even a penny. Jesus called his followers to him. He said, “I tell you the truth. This poor widow gave only 2 small coins. But she really gave more than all those rich people. The rich have plenty; they gave only what they did not need. This woman is very poor. But she gave all she had. And she needed that money to help her live.
So the point is, the rich gave what they didn’t need, but she gave all she had. This passage is specifically talking about money, but the principle is also applicable to our time, our talents, our way of life, and so many other things. The poor widow exemplifies “dependence.” If she did not believe God would take care of her, she wouldn’t have given all she had. For her to be willing to give all she had, she must have known a lot about God in order to trust and depend upon him.
Let’s contrast her actions with those of the rich people in the story. The rich people gave only what they didn’t need—they are independent rather than dependent. They seem to give out of obligation and a “this is my money” attitude. They were dependent only upon themselves.
How does all this apply to prayer? So often I am guilty of living “independently” (just like the rich people in the story). Prayer is obligation that I must get done each day. Or maybe it is something that gets pushed to the bottom of my list for the day that can wait until I have more time. I’ll give God only the time I don’t need for anything else.
I was very convicted by a paragraph in the book, A Praying Life , by Paul Miller:
Another objection (to prayer) is busyness. . . . If you are not praying, then you are quietly confident that time, money, and talent are all you need in life. You’ll always be a little too tired, a little too busy. But if, like Jesus, you realize you can’t do life on your own, then no matter how busy, no matter how tired you are, you will find the time to pray. Time in prayer makes you even more dependent on God because you don’t have as much time to get things done.
My desire is to increase my dependence on God in 2011 through prayer. But just me saying words to God, doesn’t help me get to know Him and, thereby, increase my trust . . . my dependence. I need to develop my relationship with Him. How do I do that? Through His Word. Then, I take His Word and what I learn about Him, and that helps me know how to pray.
That’s why at Titus Women we put an emphasis on prayer. We want each one of us to be equipped with God’s Word and be able to use that when we pray. For those who are new, we design our prayer time around the Upward, Inward, and Outward Look.
In the Upward Look, we praise God for who He is. This helps us remember we cannot depend upon ourselves, but rather on God, when we remember and thank Him for who He is.
Then we look Inward as we confess our failures, sins, and weaknesses to God. Asking Him to forgive us and help us, again, takes dependence.
Finally, we pray the Outward Look—praying for others. Here, we are also depending on God to work mightily in other people this session. Our desire in all of this is for each one of us to have a relationship with God that helps us live dependently upon Him.