Karen's Devotions

This is a selected collection of my devotions e-published on Daily Devotions, Journey Christian Church, Irvine, California; George Bragg, Editor. To join the mailing list, email George, gbragg@cox.net.

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As a 25+ year homeschooling vet, post-cancer, math prof, mother of five, master's track and field athlete, and certificated private pilot, I have a lot to share about what God has done in my life. In 2000 I began writing devotions as something to try when it seemed like accoustic pianists were becoming an endangered species at church. I have since found great blessings from writing and sharing. God is good.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Praying Outside the Hatbox

Published August 8, 2007

James 5:16
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

My “Hatbox” is stuffed full. It’s crammed with “hats” that tell about my life and who I am. One looks like an army combat helmet. I wear it when faced with challenges and hardships. My hat and veil I wore on my wedding day shows my love and commitment to my husband. A well worn bandana lies in my Hatbox. It represents the sweat of motherhood and homemaking. Then there’s a fun safari style hat in my Hatbox to indicate vacation and recreation in my life. The largest hat in my Hatbox is a hardhat that says “Child of God: Under Construction.” These are among many other hats, real and metaphorical, in my Hatbox.

When I pray, I often focus inside my own Hatbox. I bring my petitions and cares to the Lord with my Hatbox in mind. Oh yes, I’m justified and Biblically encouraged to approach the throne of God. Lately, however, I’ve limited my praying for others in time and quality. In fact, I’ve resorted to rattling off a list of one-word prayer subjects to speed things up. Fast? Yes. Effective? No. My spiritual growth and physical healing may be stunted when I ignore James’ teaching.

I see Chapter 5 of James’ epistle as being the climax. All of his teachings, exhortations, blessings, and warnings about the brethren’s relationship with each other and with God point to prayer. Verse 16 begins with “Therefore, confess your sins to one another…” This may be done without unnecessary details. For instance, if you are struggling with lying, share with a trusted Christian that your tongue needs bridling. It may be better to “dump” a full confession at the feet of Jesus in private prayer. “…Pray for one another...” doesn’t mean tossing up the condensed Cliff Notes version of a petition. Earnest prayer will with have an effect. God’s ways are infinite. Ours are finite. Use your prayer time wisely. So, heartfelt, thoughtful prayer is best. Thus your efforts yield results, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”

Dear Lord, I am humbly confessing how selfish my prayers have been. Through your servant James, you’ve instructed me and I’ve ignored it. Help me to abandon shallow petitions and pray outside my Hatbox. Give me and my sisters and brothers in Christ strength and assurance that we will gain spiritual growth and closer fellowship in praying for each other. In your Son’s name, amen.