Thought for the Week:
“When you pray for others, you pray for yourself.”
Question for the Week:
Are your prayers effective?
It would be difficult to call yourself a “woman’s woman” without reveling in the relationship come up we all witnessed when our young sister Queen Ciara married current hubby Russell Wilson. Yes, him and his El Debarge waves and pretty boy swag forced many of us chocolate lovin’ sistas to add a check to the light skinned brothas column. Lol! Yet, for any woman that’s ever been heartbroken, we know it amounts to way more than that.
As most of us know, Ciara gave new meaning to the term “upgrading” when she decided to leave her son’s father, rapper Future, in response to his apparent inability to teach his penis some manners. Tired of his shenanigans and disrespect of their engagement, Ciara mustered up the courage to give him the boot. Having grown up in a two parent home herself, Ciara spoke publicly about the shame she felt over knowing that her son would be raised by single parents. She did not have any prior experience with co-parenting and was unsure if her decision to go it alone would prove to be in her and her child’s best interest. Yet, despite her self-doubt, she decided to choose herself. Enter, “Ciara’s Prayer.”
Now to the untrained eye, it might appear that Ciara was, in short, praying for a man. Yet as another young sister Queen Keke Palmer correctly noted, she was in fact praying for herself.
As a therapist and mentor, I would honestly make the same assessment. See, when we ask God for a game changing blessing, there’s a certain boldness, releasing, and posturing that must occur first. Our prayers give power to vision and engage the process of manifesting the desires of our hearts. Because I believe in a loving, generous, and gracious God, I don’t personally believe that anything we want would even BE a deep desire if God was unwilling to provide it. Allowing us to want something that He would never supply would be cruel, unless it would not lead to the abundant life He’s promised those who trust Him. So, if you’ve been praying fervently for your breakthrough blessing but are not getting Ciara level results, here are a few things to consider.
You Must Believe You Are Worthy of What You’re Praying For
A prayer is a declaration and affirmation that asserts that we are worthy of what we desire. Take our kids, for example. They know better than to come to us and ask for that new PlayStation or the latest iPhone if their grades are trash or they haven’t been keeping up with their chores. So in order to acquire the audacity necessary to even make such expensive requests, they must first believe that they deserve it. What do you believe you deserve? Have you made the adjustments that you know God is calling you to make? In Ciara’s case, she decided that she had settled long enough and was living AND loving below her potential. Are you in a position to access the goodness of God because you are confident in your efforts to love others as you love yourself? Do you truly believe you can have what it is you want, or are you still wresting with feelings of inadequacy, guilt, or shame over past mistakes? Have you forgiven yourself? Have you truly accepted yourself for who you are, flaws and all? Are you secretly holding judgement against yourself while believing that everyone else is prettier, smarter, more successful, and more qualified than you to be on the receiving end of God’s goodness? If so, you are not even in the position to ask in faith, knowing that what God has done for someone else, He can do for you too.
You Must Stop Blocking Your Own Blessings
Sometimes we just get in our own doggone way! God may be waiting to bless you with a husband, but you insist on entertaining no job havin’ Pookie, who is clearly not marriage material. Mommy and Daddies: 7 Questions for the Dating Single Mom (*GLG Throwback 4/16/19*) God may want to bless you with good health and longevity, but the donuts keep having their way. What if the new job would be yours if you could just pass the drug screen? What if the house has your name on it, but you simply refuse to stay out of Macy’s? Other times, God may be waiting for us to take accountability, ask for forgiveness, or make amends to those we’ve hurt. Maybe our pride is in the way when it’s time to be the bigger person. Perhaps we just need to grow in patience, commitment, work ethic, discipline, wisdom and humility and stop blaming other people for the areas of our lives we don’t like. Perhaps, we can’t be victorious because we insist on playing the victim. If your prayers are not getting results, consider if your bad habits, stubbornness, or outright disobedience might be the reason why.
You Must Heal and Be Ready to Receive the Blessing
In order to be open to receive the blessings of God, you must learn from the lessons that pain, disappointment, and rejection were sent to teach you. If you have made a regretful mistake or behaved in a way that you’re not proud of, can you own it? Have you honestly made a fearless inventory of your unhealthy patterns and identified the dysfunction that interferes with your progression? Have you worked through your past traumas and now understand how those patterns and dysfunctional behaviors developed? You cannot expect to be entrusted with a blessing if you are still worshipping at the alters of anger, bitterness and fear. Most of us know already that “hurt people, hurt people” so how can we believe God for a husband when we don’t trust men? See, often we refuse to take a hard look at the ugliest parts of ourselves and our pasts and we continue to carry heavy baggage from one situation to the next. How to Love What if we cannot receive from God because we hold on so tightly to emotional walls, masks, lies, denial, and negative coping strategies instead of having the courage to release them? I’m Doing “Fine!”(ish) God may not have a way to get a blessing to you if you are crowding the path with defense mechanisms. If it takes the help of a therapist, then so be it, but seek understanding, get clear, forgive, and let go if you want to create the space necessary for God to move in your life.
Remember that you cannot pray without knowing that responsibility comes with every blessing. To whom much is given, much is required. Always know that in order to accept, appreciate, and hold on to any blessing, you must first accept, appreciate, and hold on to yourself. “I’m blessed” isn’t just a trendy saying, but the acknowledgement that whatever it is you desire, is already yours. All you have to do is be ready, open, willing, and able to receive it.
Scripture for the Week:
“If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”