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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Bewitched

No self-respecting Christian would consider casting spells. After all, this is a practice that is prohibited in the Bible. But are we guilty of this without realizing our error?

What is a spell, anyway? In its simplest form, a spell is the selection of words or phrases spoken with the intent of getting our desired outcome. Sometimes actions and implements are used in conjunction with words. The expected result is that the one casting the spell will achieve their will in the matter before them.

Here’s where prayer gets interesting.

In the past, I have used rote prayers in an effort to “move” God and get what I want, whether it is forgiveness for myself or a change in someone I know. There are “key” phrases I believed needed to be incorporated – and if I used them, the result was supposedly “guaranteed.”

The “Lord’s Prayer” is one I used in such a fashion. Night after night I would chant these words to show God how serious I was about wanting to be His child. I have to say “chant” because there was no thoughtful consideration, really, of what I was saying. I’d heard that this prayer was “known” to put a person in God’s favor.

Another important “key” is that of praying in King James English. Somehow, doing so makes the prayer “holier” and more likely to be heard, or so I believed.

I would never touch an “eye of newt,” or spider webs; nor do I have access to dragon blood. The thought of using such things is distasteful, to say the least.

On the other hand, I have been known to perform certain rituals in an effort to “move heaven” and get what I was asking for. If my ritual was interrupted, I became angry. The whole thing was blown, and I would have to try again later when I was certain of being left alone to complete my rites.

The day the Lord showed me that all of my efforts were designed to manipulate Him,

and were no better than casting spells, I was horrified.

I had to rethink my prayer time and practices.

Going through the Lord’s Prayer, I began to see the words in a new light.

Our Father, which art in heaven – He is no man, and He is not like my earthly father

Hallowed be Thy name – You are holy God and worthy of honor and praise, I am neither holy nor God.

Thy kingdom come – The desire of my heart should be the restoration of all things to His original design – man walking with God

Thy will be done – You know best how to achieve the most blessed outcome for the most people. My goal is to make my life better.

On earth as it is in heaven – His will benefits all, making earth more like heaven. My will benefits me, and can bring hell to those who stand in my way.

Give us this day our daily bread – a reminder that there is nothing I have that did not first come from His generous hand

Forgive us our trespasses – How many times today did I “step on the grass” of activities, words, or thoughts of I know are outside God’s stated will, defiantly ignoring the sign that said “Stay Off?”

As we forgive those who trespass against us – Ooh! Do I really want to be forgiven in the same manner as I forgive those who have crossed my boundaries?

Lead us not into temptation – I can find enough on my own. Have I matured enough that I would be able to stand in the face of temptation? Please help me be strong.

But deliver us from the evil one – I have an enemy. His desire is to rob and steal and destroy. Help me remember this every day in every circumstance. Give me discernment to see when he is at work and wisdom to stand firm when his arrows are aimed against me.

For Thine is the kingdom – You are King of kings, Lord of Lords, and everything belongs to You. I am only a small piece of Your grand Story – certainly not the leading lady!

The power – You are in control at all times. You have placed this power, through Your Holy Spirit, in each of Your children to do Your good will. Let me never misuse this gift, but never let me refrain from calling on Your power when the situation warrants my involvement.

And the glory – You are the only one it is safe to worship and honor. People twist applause into pride and become corrupted. Nothing created can be fully trusted. All will fail; only You can be praised without being altered by the glory.

Forever and ever – What will I be doing a million years from today, Lord? Whatever that may be, amazing will be part of the package. I’ll have only begun to know You then. “Forever and ever” makes me Homesick. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

*********

This prayer is not a chant, an incantation;

it is an opportunity to magnify the Lord – see Him as big as He truly is.

When I pray like this, it corrects my concept of how “big and important” I am in my own little realm. In light of Who He is, my ego is diminished and I am humbled to be chosen as His child. In reality, my life is the inch between my birth and death – which connects with everyone else’s inch on the timeline of history. That puts things in perspective in a hurry!

Don’t misunderstand, I am not opposed to kneeling, or lit candles, or other acts of worship. These are more like setting a mood for an intimate dinner, though; and not to manipulate the One I love. In fact, sometimes I use a prayer shawl. The fabric against my cheeks is like having the Father place my face in His hands and say, “Look into My eyes.” It keeps me focused; but that’s as far as it goes. God doesn’t say, “Oh, look! She has on her shawl. I have to listen and grant her wishes now. That really inspires me to give her what she wants.” Or, “Uh oh! She said, “In Jesus’ name.” Now I have to do what she asked.”

My point is this: Why do I choose the words I speak to Him?

Are they carefully chosen to supposedly “back the Lord into a corner” so He has no choice but to perform that for which I’m asking? Or am I pouring out my heart to a trusted Father and Friend, knowing that His answer will be what’s best for all concerned?

Why do I carry out my rituals? Is my intent to invoke God’s favor and get what I want? Or is my desire to make my time with Him special?

If my motives are anything but love, (1 Corinthians 13:1-4), then I may well be in danger of attempting to bewitch Almighty God.

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