Debbie Salter Goodwin
Pray Without If
How would we pray if we really believed God would answer?
And there it is, the 2-letter word that can come between us and God just like the tempter did in the Garden of Eden. How can such a small word destroy our ability to hear God?
The simple answer is because we give it the power. A short vowel and a consonant puff and we are toast, robbed and depleted of whatever God wanted to give.
If becomes a giant word that holds us prey when something goes terribly wrong in our world or our lives. The whisper in our heart sounds so reasonable: If God is loving . . . We use if to question God’s character when really it only uncovers our ignorance.
Jesus faced if’s in a wilderness where he had to choose which voice he would hear: the tempter’s or His Father’s. How did he choose? He chose the way he had been choosing from the beginning. He chose his Father’s integrity over the tempter’s taunt.
In our journey to the cross, we have to face our if’s and track them all the way to their origin. We can’t do that in the chaos and clamor of our responsibilities. We must find that closed room, that quiet circle, that no-outside stimulus pause. We must still our hearts and minds until we can tell the difference between the Father’s encouraging whisper and the tempter's deconstructing questions. We must let all our if’s tumble out: the if’s that scar our identity, that take us away from God and His unfailing love, the if’s that take our questions and make them facts. Anytime our if’s get louder than Jesus’ I AM, we are listening to the wrong voice.
There is only one way to combat if’s in our life and it is the same way Jesus did. We return to Truth . We don’t just quote the Word of the Lord, we take it as our shield and sword. We put it in the loud speaker of our hearts so that no other voice distracts us.
It’s wilderness work for sure. Lonely, scary, undoing. But when we stop making gods out of our if’s, we can treat them as the tempters they really are. We see them as thieves to rob us of everything God would give. We refuse to bow to them in any way.
What happened when Jesus refused to play the tempter’s if game? The angels came. And so did peace.
Maybe we have asked our if’s to give us what only God can give:
Pray without if and let God find you there. His peace will follow.
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