James points out a couple of issues in prayer in chapter four.
You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and wage war. You do not have because you do not ask. (James 4:2, CSB)
Issues: Lack of right motive and lack of asking
What if we addressed both issues simultaneously? Here’s a suggestion how:
- Write down your top five desires
- Ask God to check your motives behind each desire
- Edit the list as needed
- Then pray over the list
I did this exercise today. Here’s what I realized:
- What I listed as my desires were not things I have regularly been praying for
- The act of writing down my desires while asking the Holy Spirit what he thought about them made checking my motives easier and, as a result of having already invited him into the exercise, made prayer a normal, flowing, and immediate outcome
Give yourself fifteen minutes to try this exercise this weekend and see how yours goes. Let’s go after praying our desires.
What is IOS? No, it doesn’t have anything to do with Apple. However, you can see people battling it as often as you see Apple products. IOS is a syndrome you have dealt with sometime in your life. People suffer with it on social media, tv shows, in the board room, and at the family reunion. It would be nice if there were a pill or shot for it, but so far, no.
We’ve all dealt with it, particularly in our formative years. When you gave that first book report in 3rd grade, when you got your first job, when you picked your date up for prom-it was heavy. Some people overcome it quickly; others struggle with it all their lives. Overcoming IOS may be a process or could be a defining moment. I had a defining moment my junior year in college and another a few years later that seemed to loosen the grip of IOS. Regardless of its hold on someone, the reality of it being loosened is real and is possible.
This syndrome is Impressing Others Syndrome. Recognize it? Have you overcome it? If not, your self talk could be a solution. Most likely, your self talk is fear-based, maybe even lies you’ve been deceived to believe.
So how do we counter those lies, that fear? Overcoming IOS will take addressing it at its roots. Those roots of lies and fears should be countered by our identity and truth as God sees us. The challenge is very personal, testing what we believe and just how true our convictions are. Our self talk should be based on truths that strengthen us to defeat IOS. These three are a great start.
- “God loves Me.” He created me and made me who I am. Who I am includes my looks, my abilities, my personality. He knows my history. No one else knows me like he does. His love is unconditional, and my performance and choices do not change it.
- “The best motives are eternity-focused.” Checking our motives should be a constant priority. Satan loves to tempt us to be temporally motivated and thereby tell ourselves to focus on things that have little or no eternal worth. When you check this root of IOS, you may discover the main self talk to change.
- “I’m a work in progress.” This reality can be personally humbling and also critically diffusing. This also creates in us a teachable spirit which allows us to not live for approval as much as growth. That’s a big difference.
What are you telling yourself? Lies or truths? Fears or convictions? IOS’s grip can be loosened. Ask God for your best self-talking points and be free.