For the last twenty years, one of my constant prayers has been, “Father, make me aware of my desperate dependence on you.” It’s a crazy prayer in some ways. I think that prayer is partly responsible for the fact that my life often feels a little out of control—which, for a girl that likes control, is uncomfortable.
My work has constantly been marked by stunning growth—again uncomfortable for a girl who likes to be in control. “Small and manageable” is my motto—one that doesn’t work well when you are praying, “God, make me aware of my desperate dependence on you.”
So why pray that way? Why am I so grateful that things always feel like they are beyond my natural abilities? Because it keeps me dependent. It keeps me prayerful. It makes fasting a constant companion. Because God’s given me many talents, without the stretch of something that grows faster than my comfort zone, I could easily fall into believing that I have it all together, that I can cope. God would be a lovely addition to my life, but I’m not sure I would have quite the same awareness of my NEED for God. There’s something about feeling like you have been thrown into the deep end of the pool that helps you realize you need God to turn up. For me, prayer isn’t a discipline, it’s a necessity. My frail human self needs that urgency.
Reconciled World is made up of many different types of work all seeking to address the brokenness that we see around us. We’re committed to finding an approach to doing so that’s based on biblical truth. To give us direction as we do that, we’ve identified seven core principles that we believe will help us to ensure our efforts to address brokenness are rooted in the Bible. The first is “Depending on God.”
Why do we believe that depending on God is so important? There’s two reasons. First, the Bible tells us without Him we can do nothing. Second, if we believe that we are able to do our work in our own abilities alone, we are on a slippery road to glorifying ourselves and not God.
The Bible frequently reminds us that success, fruitfulness, blessing and prosperity all come through things such as looking to God, abiding in Him, walking in obedience to Him, prayer and scripture. Even more challenging, in John 15:5 Jesus directly challenges our innate self-reliance, saying, “I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Nothing. We’re completely dependent on God, even when we don’t realise it.
In most every way, depending on God goes against our natural tendencies. We tend to believe that with hard work and a bit of hustle we can succeed. But it’s not the message of the Bible. As an organisation we’re commitment to looking to God to provide everything we need and to multiply our efforts so that lives are transformed. That doesn’t mean that we don’t work hard. We do. But our dependence—the thing that we rely on in order to see results—is on God, not our efforts. We recognise there is little that we can do that would bring the type of transformation that we seek to see.
One of the organisations that I deeply respect and admire is International Justice Mission (IJM). I’ve read that at their headquarters they have a prayer meeting every day at 3 pm. While I have no idea if that is still true today, I am inspired by that model that says, “We recognise we need God to turn up, so we are making it part of what we do every day. Every day we are stepping away from the busyness of email, etc. to commit ourselves to prayer.” I know for me, every time I have acted in such a way, my time has multiplied rather than vanished.
As we start this year we are committing ourselves again to the importance of prayer, scripture and abiding in God. We long to see God move this year—lives renewed, relationships restored and nations transformed.