John Powell is a Christian author, professor, and speaker. Each morning, as he groggily looks into his mirror, he reads a little sign he has taped there: “What have you got going today, God? I’d like to be a part of it. Thanks for loving me.”
This daily exercise reminds Powell (and us!) that we have to find our place in God’s plans, rather than concocting our own little plans and then trying to conscript God’s support for them. Instead, Powell begins his day by praying, “What have you got going today, God? You love this world. You loved this world into life. You created this world. We’re all yours. What’s my part in the drama? What part do you want me to play? I will play any part you say. Whatever you want.”
Jesus’ model prayer in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:9-13) certainly orients us in this direction. The first half of that simple prayer reasserts our relationship with God our Father, realigns us with God’s greater purposes, declares our allegiance to His kingdom, and commits us to carrying out His will in our corner of creation. The second half expresses our reliance upon God for our daily needs, for spiritual protection, and for the forgiveness we receive and give.
When we follow Jesus into a prayerful life, one question we may find ourselves asking is how do we know when God is leading us in a certain direction, down a specific path? How, when we pray, do we know God has touched us?
Powell suggests three tests of discernment. First, when God touches us, it lasts. It endures. If I can’t remember what happened the next morning, it probably wasn’t God. Second, God’s touch immerses me deeper into reality. Instead of disconnecting me from the hard-edged hurts and struggles of the world, it pulls me deeper into contact with those realities. Third is the charity test: it makes me a more loving person. Then I know that God has truly spoken to me.
When was the last time you prayed such an adventurous prayer? Perhaps this week will provide you the opportunity to pray: “What have you got going today, God? I’d like to be a part of it. Thanks for loving me.”