Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Can't Live by Rules - I Live by Prayers

The Rules to Live By in this life are pretty simple. I like the Ten Commandments. Follow them and you’re probably going to be okay. I mean really follow them; don’t just pretend.

If your heart’s not in these, then you might be in trouble. You could resort to the shortened version of Rules to Live By from Luke 10:27. “And He answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” (KJV)
From The Life of Jesus Christ by J.J.Tissot, 1899
That isn’t all that easy either, though. Sometimes it’s all I can do to love myself.
For Rules to Live By, though, I was most excited to find Micah 6:8, my favorite verse. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (KJV) The nice thing about that one is that there are three simple things to do and you can fulfill God’s requirements. This single verse is worth its own discussion.

No matter what I do, I can’t seem to consistently do what is right. So I need The Prayer in my life.
My Darling Wife taught me this prayer. She didn’t mean to teach me the prayer, but I heard her pray it a number of times and it stuck.
The prayer is simple. The prayer is direct. The prayer is almost as good as my own favorite prayer, which is simply “God help me” (one that I use a lot).
Here is her prayer, and now mine. “Lord, if I’ve done wrong, please show me. If they’ve done wrong, please show them.”
There’s a lot of power in this prayer, and the results are rarely comfortable. I remind myself that an honest man is willing to look at his own faults. I suspect my faults are so glaring I am the last to see them.
So whenever I have a disagreement with Darling, which is seldom, I’ll sputter and growl and eventually say this prayer. (I suspect she is saying the same prayer at the same time!) After some time I’ll go and apologize for my behavior.
And that’s okay. As long as I’m willing to be wrong – and make amends – I think my heart is in the right place. When I am no longer willing to say that simple prayer and abide by the answer then I’m in trouble.
Because I sure can’t live up to the Rules to Live By.

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