Since becoming a single parent, things have been pretty tough financially. Work is spotty and I have often had to rob Peter to pay Paul. And I have a box of IOU's sitting here for Mary. Lately, my prayers asking for reconciliation of financial matters have sounded much like Oliver meekly asking for "more."
I make a small sale, which puts a few more days of gas in my car.
"Jesus... can I have some more, please?"
I work a day or two. My car insurance bill is paid.
"Jesus... can I please, PLEASE have some more, sir?"
I manage to sell a few things on Ebay to purchase household necessities.
*Blink blink* "Ummm... Jesus?" I feel like a naggy kid.
That prayer seemed to be working though. And if something works, you stick with it. So every morning I would clasp my hands and look up with those pitiful puppy dog eyes and ask God to drop just a little more green manna my way. I'm not asking for a fortune... I'm not asking for luxury items I could live without... I just need this bill paid, or that bill paid. He can do that, and then some. I know this. He's done it before again and again.
A few days ago, on a whim I decided to turn on the live stream for GodTV while I was slaving away on handmade ornaments to add to my online shop. I heard three teachings one right after another on blessing. They couldn't have been more timely. In each teaching, the way we were exhorted to pray for provision was the same; and it happened to be worded much differently than the pitiful begging I'd resorted to lately. It kinda blew my mind, really. I found there were two problems with the way I viewed and responded to my situation. First, I was looking at and leaning too much on circumstances, probability, and an ailing and failing world system to predict the likelihood of my needs being met. Like I forgot there was a God out there capable of making a way where there seemed to be no way. Second, it caused my prayers to be improperly worded in such a way that left open doors for doubt and a lack of trust. These two things combined had opened the door to anxiety and had robbed me of peace and joy.
In the teachings, a few scriptures in the book of Matthew were particularly key in changing my response and heart attitude toward my poverty. One was Matthew 6:7-8, which says "When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. (I tend to be a babbler.) They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!" (Emphasis mine)
Oooh, that last sentence nailed me. I forgot He was there when I opened this bill or that bill, or scraped change to buy gas. He knows what I don't have, and knows what I need. Read on...
Matthew 6:25-34 goes on to say, "That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? (Sigh... NO.)
“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for YOU. Why do you have so little faith? (That's a really good question.)
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ (How am I going to pay my light bill!!??) These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today."
Jesus said this stuff. He obviously knows something I don't. I know He knew things that I didn't know in the last couple of months because at that time I had bills that needed paying, I had NO idea how I was going to pay them but now looking back... they got paid. He knew they would be, even when I didn't. And that was with LITTLE faith. I wonder what bigger faith could do.
And then that's where my errant prayers come in. I've been asking for things that have already been given to me. It may not be in my possession just yet but the blessing has been granted. God already HAS the money- I just need the faith for Him to release it. Instead of ASKING for what I need, (which I don't even need to do... God already knows) I am to DECLARE it provided for and then WAIT in faith for the manifestation of it. The teachers suggested instead of saying, "God, I ask for the money to pay my light bill, if you could, please..." I should instead declare, "MY BILLS ARE PAID!!!" Hmmm. I decided I would try that.
So yesterday, all day, I walked around my house shouting, "MY BILLS ARE PAID! MY BILLS ARE PAID! That light bill? Paid. That gas bill? Paid. Car insurance? Paid. The extra money needed for January's rent? Yep, that's paid too. PAID! It's all PAID!!!" It was amazing how just a change in language led to a change in attitude, and an increase of peace over the situation.
And today, I got a call informing me I have a full week of work to complete. That light bill and gas bill?