Our Heavenly Santa, who art in heaven…

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Whats up everyone, for the last 6 weeks, I’ve been meaning to publish this blog, but I guess it was best that I waited until now. I say this all the time, but I seriously need to find a way to blog more often, but time has been flying by at a ridiculous pace.

Still, a lot has changed in my life after Dani died. Some things I expected, and some things are very unexpected. The biggest unexpected change that has taken place has been in my prayer life.

After my wife died, quite expectedly, I was devastated. I didn’t pray much in the immediate aftermath because I didn’t have the energy to do anything. I barely ate, barely showered and barely did anything but cry so getting on my knees to pray wasn’t even a thought in my mind.

But, as the weeks and months passed, I’ve regained a lot of energy, took up exercise and running, golf (which I’m still terrible at) and have been back to work full-time for several months now. One thing really hadn’t returned though, and that was my prayer life. Sure, I was going to church, reading the bible and other spiritual books, but besides the prayers I would pray on Sunday mornings, I would go days without even thinking to pray.

About 6 weeks ago, it hit me like a ton of bricks that the reason I had stopped praying was that the vast majority of my prayer life had been for things. Even before my wife got ill, my prayer life was routinely a request for God to do something, give me something, help someone, or to be my cosmic concierge that organizes my life rewards me for all of my pious actions. (None of these are bad prayers by the way.)

Then suffering hit. My wife got sick. God didn’t grant my request to heal my wife. My prayer life stopped.

I figured that God was going to do whatever He wanted to do anyway so it didn’t really matter if I prayed. After all, God is sovereign right?

It bears repeating that I do not believe for one second that my wife died to teach me a series of lessons; however, in this season of suffering, I’ve learned a lot. I was reading a book by R.C. Sproul entitled “Does Prayer Change Things” and in it he noted something ridiculously simple that blew my mind.

Nobody was more aware of God’s sovereignty than Jesus, and nobody was less focused on earthly treasures than Jesus, but nobody prays as much or as meaningfully as Jesus. Clearly, prayer as Jesus understood it is a whole heck of a lot more than a shopping list of requests. And that’s the type of prayer that I’m in search of.

Jesus would retreat from his surroundings, get up early and go pray, for no other reason than to talk to God. The communion between father and son was what he sought.

I’ve learned that for a long time I’d been praying to Santa Jesus, a version of God that in some ways the extent of our relationship was Him giving me stuff.

Now, there is NOTHING WRONG at all with praying for things, Moses, David, Paul, Peter and Jesus prayed for things at times. But there’s so much more to prayer than getting something in return. In prayer we get God!

As John Piper said in his book Desiring God, “our problem isn’t that we seek after pleasure, our problem is that we are too easily pleased.”

Our problem isn’t that we want joy, happiness or contentment, our problem is that we are too easily satiated by the comforts of this life that will soon wither away.

My problem in my prayer life wasn’t that I prayed for things, it was that the things I prayed for satisfied me, and left no room for the deep longing for God, in which there are limitless treasures in fellowship with Him.

God, as any loving parent desires to give us the best, and the best is He Himself.

Long story short, I’m rediscovering prayer… not merely as requests for God to orchestrate my life (which I still pray for), but through the lens that in prayer, I get God.

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3 Responses to “Our Heavenly Santa, who art in heaven…”

  1. GRice says:

    Jordan, this is exactly what I’ve been wrestling with since Dani died. My prayers, too, had become a wish list instead of communion time with God. Thanks for the insight- I am proud of you, my son!

  2. Delores says:

    Good Morning,

    I read your blog, and it is an awesome experience to actually have a relationship with God. I mean to really know God, to speak with God like you speak to your mother. Sometimes we have to endure trials and pain so that God can draw us to the level of having a relationship of this magnitude.

    I can honestly say,it was through my trials and pain. In which my relationship with God was build. I LOVE him sooooooooomuch.

    May God be the Glory,

    Love Delores

  3. TSnell says:

    WOW I really needed that. We all as disciples of God go through that time where we get comfortable & have our Santa Jesus list. I’m so glad u blogged this b/c I must admit I haven’t been seeking Gods face as I should. Very very eye opening

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