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No bother

One prayer request I frequently get is for guidance from God. Someone is at a crossroads, is not sure whether to stay in a relationship, or is just feeling stuck or confused by life circumstances. “I just need God to show me what to do, and I’ll do it.” There’s a sense of desperation in this plea. So I come in ready to pray about discerning God’s will, being sensitive to the movement of the Holy Spirit, and the courage to step out in faith. I also come with questions. “When have you felt God guide you in the past? How do you think God feels about your situation? What’s your prayer life like?” A common response to that last question is this: “I don’t want to bother God with my problems. God has more important things to do.”

Now this can easily be a cop-out. It’s no secret that the more we invest in our relationship with God, the better we’ll be able to sense where God is leading us. Not wanting to bother God is often an excuse for not bothering to pray. But that’s not always the case. I’ve met plenty of faithful Christians who serve God and love their neighbor but show signs of spiritual anorexia. They have difficulty receiving God’s love and grace, which is spiritual food. They might fear being a burden to God, being less than perfect, or having needs of any kind. The result is a resistance to being nurtured and nourished by God. I once heard that the places where we are resistant to God are similar to the places where we are resistant to the closest person in our lives. Think about the parallels. Do you have trouble voicing your own needs? Are there things you don’t want to reveal about yourself? Are you afraid to hear what’s being asked of you so that you end up assuming what’s being asked of you? Whatever it is, go there in prayer. Offer that place of resistance to God, and see what you get back. Maybe it will include a word of divine guidance or instruction. Maybe it won’t. But perhaps you’ll hear something more important - God’s invitation to come and rest.