A Prayer

God, help me overcome my selfishness. I want to love the way you asked me to.

I don’t want to say another insulting word to or about another person, not even jokingly.

I want to shock my enemies with Christian love.

I want to joyfully sacrifice for the poor, and to see You when I see them.

I don’t want to fit in anymore.

Holy Spirit, save me. Set me apart. Make me worthy.

This prayer was written by Francis Chan in his book Erasing Hell. It stood out to me not only because it was a sincere, impromptu prayer in the middle of his book, but also because when I thought about praying it for myself I stumbled over some of the requests. The first sting of conviction was in the line: “I don’t want to say another insulting word to or about another person, not even jokingly.” How very specific. Too specific. So may times in conversation I will find myself saying flippant comments at the expense of another person, usually for the sake of some laughs. Sarcasm is my first language. My tongue struggles with meekness. I put that blow in the “deal with later” compartment of my heart and continue in prayer application.

Again, I stop when I read the line “I don’t want to fit in anymore.” I definitely didn’t pray that; I came to an abrupt halt. Of course I want to fit in! What is Sir Francis saying? Why doesn’t he want any friends? Well, I don’t think he is saying he wants to be a loner in the corner playing with a ball of yarn while singing praise and worship songs (was that sarcasm?). Yet, why does “not fitting in” scare me and make me stop mid prayer. It’s a simple answer: because a part of me wants to fit in. What does fitting in with the world look like for me? It looks like wearing daisy dukes and bandeau tops to compete with the college girls, it looks like drinking three too many cocktails at the bar, it definitely looks like putting my efforts into money-making and raking in the material treasures. Now that I see it here in writing, I ‘m closer to praying “I don’t want to fit in anymore” and this time meaning it. I am cornered in with my unworthiness and my desperate need for redemption. I start to understand Francis as I remember who I am. The last sentence of the prayer becomes all too real and I pray it more desperately than I first intended.

Which lines in this prayer make you stutter? 

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