"Learned desperation is at the heart of a praying life."
- Miller, Paul (2009-05-15). A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World (Kindle Location 1519). NavPress. Kindle Edition.
I read that quote this morning while reading the book referenced above. As I read it, I was reminded of Matthew 5:3-4, where Jesus tells us, "Blessed are are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
What is 'poor in spirit'? Recognizing that I have absolutely nothing to offer God. Recognizing that my very best offering is filthy rags in light of His holiness. Recognizing that I need Him. I am desperate for grace. Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to His cross I cling.
What is mourning? Recognizing the wreck of sin in my life. Recognizing that even in my very best attempt, I have fallen woefully short of His glory, I have tainted every offering with my own pride and lack of understanding of just Who He is. It is bowing before Him, in awe of the grace that would save one like me.
I like the idea of learned desperation. I want to be a praying woman. I want to recognize daily what a debtor to grace I truly am. Why learned? Because I am so steeped in the 'can-do', me-first, individualized, psychobabble 'you-can-be-all-you-want-to-be-if-you-just-work-hard-enough', self-help, self-actualization, positive-thinking, name-it-and-claim-it culture all around me that I must learn to shut out those lies and learn that what I need is not 'self' actualization at all but to study God's word and look intently at Who He is and bow before Christ Jesus the Lord and submit to His conforming me to His image.
In recognizing that, in learning that kind of desperation before my Savior, is where the greatest joy and rest are found. Whatever good works He has prepared for me to do, saved me to free me to do for His glory, He will give the grace to do it, by His power and His Spirit working in me to conform me to the image of His Son as He sanctifies me, sets me apart to be free to walk in obedience to Him.
This realization, that it is all of Him, all of His grace, that I am saved purely and only for the sake of Jesus, gives me the freedom to cry out to Him in prayer and to learn to trust Him daily.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!