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Creative prayer as remembering truth

Lynne Baab • Friday July 26 2019

Creative prayer as remembering truth

The “impostor syndrome” is a name for those feelings when we doubt our accomplishments and wonder if we’ll be exposed as a fraud. A friend of mine sometimes feels this at work, and she recently asked for prayer that she wouldn’t let this thief steal her joy in her job.

Two years ago I wrote a post on this blog using a quotation from American journalist Fulton Oursler (1893-1952): “Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future.” He’s using that same notion that we can allow certain thoughts and perspectives into our minds, and once they’re there, they act like thieves.

When we spent a lot of time feeling inadequate, regretting something from the past, or fearing something in the future, thieves are stealing the joy, peace, confidence, and trust that God wants to give us today. Prayer is a way to thwart those thieves. In prayer, we remember who we are as children of a loving God, and we cement our belovedness into our minds as we pray.

The first step is to name the thief and to rebuke it in Jesus’ name. “Fear about the future, you are a thief and I command you in Jesus’ name to leave me and go to the foot of the cross.” After rebuking the thief, don’t mention it again in your prayers. Instead figure out the opposite and name that over and over as you pray.

Confidence. Trust. Hope. Joy. Patience. Kindness. Love. Belovedness. Peace. Faith. The presence of God. The light of Christ. The truth of the Gospel.

Figure out what you want in your heart and mind to replace the thief, and ask God for it. Recent research on the way the brain works shows that when we focus on what we don’t want, we continue to nurture the brain pathways that support that negative idea. And in contrast, when we focus on healthy thoughts and behaviors, we actually create new neurons that support those positive things.

Since God made our brains, we can embrace this research as a call to name and rebuke negative things in Christ’s name, then move on to prayers for the ability to rest in God’s goodness. Here are some suggestions for how to do that.

1. Praying the Bible.When we pray a verse or portion of the Bible, we move cognitive truth from our minds into our hearts. The psalms are a great place to start praying the Bible, but it’s possible to pray any verse. Here’s an example: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Those words arenot a prayer, but if I ponder them, even memorize them, and meditate on them, I find myself asking for faith, assurance and conviction. And I find myself resting in God’s gifts of faith, assurance and conviction.

2. Praying along with music.As I was thinking about the impostor syndrome, an old praise song came to my mind. (You can listen to it here.)

I will change your name
Your new name shall be
Confidence, joyfulness, overcoming one
Faithfulness, friend of God
One who seeks My face

Praying along with hymns and praise songs is a major part of my prayer life. I love to find a hymn or praise song that contains the word or idea – the truth that God wants in my mind – to replace a thief. Music seems to cement concepts into my brain, and the truths expressed in words accompanied by music seem to have power.

3. Pray for what you want, connected to Jesus. I like to use my breath for prayers like these:

     Lord Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace
     Have mercy on me, I need your peace.

     Lord Jesus Christ, Light of the World,
     Have mercy on me, shine your light on my path.

     Lord Jesus Christ, Lord of the future,
     Have mercy on me, give me confidence about my future.

     Lord Jesus Christ, Lord of the past,
     Have mercy on me, give me peace about my past.

Two friends of mine recently sent out a prayer letter about their ministry. The letter contained these words: “Much of the work of faith has to do with us remembering the truth. Prayer is remembering that we are loved.” I want to encourage you to bring God’s truth to mind as you pray.

Next week: creative prayer nurtures stopping. Illustration by Dave Baab. I love getting new subscribers to my blog. Sign up below (for cellphones) or in the right hand column of the webpage (for laptops) to get an email when I post on this blog.

Two articles I’ve written that give hands-on suggestions for embracing God’s perspectives:

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