Effective Prayer – Chipping away at the Stodge
by Jan Cox
I always wonder how effective I am at praying for others.
When I pray for others am I identified with the ways of Christ?
Last week someone in my Bible study said something very profound. She said she thinks we are filled with the Holy Spirit when we give our lives to Christ but then she believes, and I tend to agree, He takes us residence in us along with a whole bunch of other stuff.
Oswald Chambers calls is STODGE. And until we can chip away at the stodge we aren’t solely filled with the Holy Spirit.
“We have the notion that there are certain right and virtuous things in us which do not need to be based on the Atonement, and just in the domain of “stodge” that is produced by this idea we cannot intercede” (Oswald Chambers, May 4)
Now I have to ask myself – “So what stodge is there with the Holy Spirit in me?” “What needs to be cleaned out or thrown out?” “Where do I need to start chipping?”
Me – feeling of superiority – thinking I know it all and can do the best job and so am critical of others. I know this is getting better – it is decreasing, melting away. And if it does rear its ugly head I can whack it down quickly.
Me – my wanting to fix things. I have lots of good ideas. But I need to let God lead and let Him work it out first – and tell me when I can help or begin something. God has the best ideas.
“We do not identify ourselves with God’s interests in others, we get petulant with God; we are always ready with our own ideas, and intercession becomes the glorification of our own natural sympathies” (Oswald Chambers, May 4)
Now when it comes to praying – interceding for my friends – I need to see it in God’s eyes and through my friend’s life. No hidden agenda of mine. My words have to change. I can’t get emotionally involved. I can’t let my empathy for them get in the way of God working through them. Help me pray, Lord, for your will in their lives.
I ask the Holy Spirit to help me identify the STODGE in me. Then I can listen and work at chipping it away to make more room for the Holy Spirit to live in me.
It reminds me of The Grinch who Stole Christmas. Remember how the Grinch’s heart was so small and how it grew three times that day. Right now I see my soul as small – filled with the Spirit – but small. And as I get rid of the STODGE, my soul grows a little bigger. I see things differently, react differently, love wider and stronger.
I picture instead of a HEART – a CROSS. I see it growing bigger as I get to know God better.
I have to remind myself life is all about God – not about ME. And when I put God’s interests into my prayers – my prayer life changes. I try to see it as God sees it and give Him all the glory.
Praise be to God.
Father, I know I like things my way – but I know that I need to stop doing that. I want to start listening to the Holy Spirit and how you, Lord, want things to proceed. I am learning to trust in your wisdom. Help me when I pray for others to listen to You and ask for what You want for them. Give me boldness in my prayers and help me to use Scripture in my requests. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.
My Gratitude List – counting to 2000 – I am at 1366
- Grace is “aggressive forgiveness” (Romans 5:20-21 The Message)
- “Growth in grace stops the moment I get huffed” (May 11, Oswald Chambers)
- My Mom’s secretary is now in my living room
- I am now sitting in her recliner chair
- writing some words to say at the cemetery
- connecting with my granddaughter on my IPOD
- spaghetti dinner at the church – they made gluten free – yahoo
- excitement to visit grandchildren and go to the zoo
- watching grandchildren at park go up and down a long slide a zillion times
- walking in perfect weather
- the peacocks, the butterfly
- playing hockey and then basketball with a 5 year old
- watching grandpa and grandson work on the digger
- bath time with my 2 grandkids
- exhausted – in a good way
- naps in car on the way home (I wasn’t driving)
- great sermon on “Labour and Deliverance” Video Post Cast 1, Video Pod Cast 2
- first boat ride of the season
- a snake swimming in the water (fascinating but yucky)
- smooth water because not many boats on lake
- a man at the docks to help us
- remembering the important little things for the boat (put plug back in; trim up)
- hearing from all 3 kids on Mother’s Day
- sunny weather for driving to daughter’s
- Delicious lunch at my sister’s – a feast of salmon, veggies and rice
- too cute – my grandson
- just talking to God – awesome
- little bird landing so close to me while I sat on the porch
- smiles of recognition from 2 month old grandbaby
- sounds of a grandbaby – hiccups, toots and babbling
- messaging oldest granddaughter
- “let the word of God be living and active in you.” (Oswald Chambers, May 14)
- amazing new bathroom floor (Hard working hubby)
- a great neighbourhood to live in
Jan, a former school teacher and small business owner, found a new passion in writing in her retirement. She has published two devotionals and a number of articles for magazines and a Bible study. She is owner of Under the Cover of Prayer and moderates the site. She also writes at A Better Way. Jan is working on a couple children’s books in which she is also the watercolour illustrator.