I don't know about you, but it's easy for me to fall into the trap of treating the Lord like a vending machine.
Do you ever do the same thing?
It really is an easy trap. Anybody can can get caught. You just go into your secret place with the Lord, and start praying about whatever is on your mind.
The problem is that the things on my mind are usually not the most important things.
For example, I am usually thinking about things like:
- my job;
- my husband;
- our finances;
- our LifeGroup (Sunday School class);
- this blog;
- our friends;
- our family; and
- our church.
There's nothing wrong with any of those things. They are all very important, and all need to be continually covered in prayer. However, when I enter my special time with the Lord and focus on these things, my time with Him becomes all about stuff, or about other people… not about Him and me.
That is why I say I am treating the Lord like a vending machine sometimes. Insert prayer, receive answer, thank You very much, “Oops, my time is up already! See You later, Lord!”
Isn't that sad?
Treating the Lord like a vending machine causes me to miss out on the most important thing: intimate relationship with Him. It causes me to miss out on the sweet communion of the Holy Spirit. Do I get answers? Yes. But answers without relationship become dry and routine.
Additionally, when I focus on praying for stuff during my prayer time, I lose ground spiritually because I don't stay focused on the Person of Christ. My focus is on getting the results I need or want, instead.
I went through a period of time recently where my prayers felt so dry. I didn't feel any connection to the Lord during prayer at all. I felt like I was just doing a job during my quiet time. My heart really did want to commune with the Lord, but I just wasn't feeling the connection.
Then the Holy Spirit showed me why: I wasn't spending time with Him to grow closer to Him. I was just using Him to help me get through my day. I was using Him to get answers to prayers about all those things (listed above) that were on my mind.
When the Holy Spirit showed me this, I cried out to Him for help. I prayed something like:
“Lord, I don't want to be with You just to get something. I want to seek Your face, not just Your hand. I do need Your hand, Lord. I'm desperate for Your help in every part of my life. I can't handle things alone. But Your hand without Your face is meaningless. Please help me. Draw me closer to You. Help me to seek You first and foremost. Fill me with Your Spirit. Let me see You. Help me to receive Your love and love You back. Work out the righteousness of Christ in me. Make me humble. Give me Your character. Make me like Jesus. Please, draw me closer to You. Help me to hear You. Let me be obsessed just with Your presence.”
When I prayed that prayer, the dryness and sense of disconnection went away immediately. I suddenly felt so close to Him. I could hear His voice, see His face, and feel His heart. All because God craves relationship with me.
He craves relationship with you, too.
I know you need His help. He knows it too. But my friend, if you too have been treating the Lord like a vending machine, would you be willing to join me in seeking His face, instead of His hand?
Would you ask Him to draw you close to Himself? Would you ask Him to do a work in your heart and make you like Jesus? Would you ask Him to help you do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him? Would you ask Him for humility, character, love, and the fruit of the Spirit?
These are the most important things.
Treating the Lord like a vending machine may get temporary results, but I believe it will also result in spiritual dryness. Seeking greater relationship with the Lord, on the other hand, will make us truly alive.
Would you return with me to seeking His face today?
Have you ever treated the Lord like a vending machine? If so, what do you think about this subject? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Image courtesy of Stoonn/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net.