by Sarah Langness
Alright. I have a very anti-Christian-sounding confession to make. But don’t write me off or let this statement keep you from reading this in full:
Sometimes, I really don’t like praying.
Not the actual act of praying, the whole talking to my Father, sharing my heart with Him stuff. I’m fine with that. But I don’t like praying for change . . . specifically, change in me. It’s like that whole concept of “Don’t pray for patience, otherwise the Lord will give you more opportunities to practice patience.” I had one of those experiences this past week. Except I prayed for a servant heart. And man, was I ever tested.
It all started when I decided to start reading through the book of Mark. I began to notice how often Jesus mentioned servant hood and how often He Himself was a servant (1 Peter 2:21). And because He has left us an example to follow, I knew I needed to become a servant as well. That I needed to become less selfish as a mother and as a wife. That I needed to exemplify love as Paul describes it in that all-too familiar chapter that we don’t even really get anymore – 1 Corinthians 13. That I needed to put the needs of those in our church family and our community above my own. So my prayer became that of the old song:
Make me a servant, humble and meek.
Lord, let me lift up those who are weak.
And may the prayer of my heart always be, make me a servant.
Make me a servant . . . today.”
After only a few mornings of praying this prayer, the opportunities seemed to abound for me to be a servant. And they weren’t opportunities that came from a far-off place or would send me out of my comfort zone. They were in my own home.
They were opportunities with a toddler who suffered from a 102.2 fever and just wanted to cuddle for nearly two days. They were opportunities with that same toddler who, after the fever broke and he seemed to be himself, didn’t want to take naps in his crib and would only sleep while being held. They were opportunities with my husband, who can’t read my mind after only (almost) four years of marriage. They were opportunities to make a meal for a VBS team even when I felt like we had so much to get ready for our trip. They were opportunities to open our home to new friends even when I felt so tired at the end of the day.
Here’s my other confession: after a couple of days of constant opportunities to be a servant, I stopped praying that prayer. I was exhausted.
But ya know what? I should start praying that prayer again. Because Jesus was a servant even in death. I guess this time though, I’ll try not to be as surprised at the constant opportunities to serve.
“‘You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.'” Mark 10:42-45, (NASB) (emphasis mine)