Prayer, Plain and Simple

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” (Isaiah 55:8)

“For, ‘Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?’ But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.” (II Corinthians 2:16)

I am not smart enough to live successfully. Don’t smirk; neither are you.

“Bounded rationality” is the common sense notion that we all make decisions with limited information processed by limited channel capacity in our very limited brains. Bounded rationality dis-illusions our self-reliance; but then, illusions need to be “dissed.”

I’m a natural born fool. Which makes it utterly surprising that God would trust me with massive responsibilities: I’m a husband, a father, with a business, a wide scope of relationships, a home, cars, a retirement portfolio, and vision for my future. What was God thinking? Knowing what I know about what I don’t know, I’m tempted to question God’s judgment.

Then again, these blessings lead me to suspect that God may be up to something shrewd. What if life is a set up for failure? What if God grants leadership that forces me into a bankruptcy of soul and therefore dependence? Here I stumble across the entire purpose of the entire universe. Everything in my life sets the stage for God’s next to last word: “Understand this! My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts.”

Which sets up his last word. When failure forces me to admit my bounded rationality, God responds, “Ah, but you also have the mind of Christ.” Catch that? Humility enables me to share in Jesus’ mind and his boundless rationality. Paul’s claim that I have the mind of Christ is ridiculously audacious. Of course my thoughts cannot be God’s thoughts, but his thoughts can be mine! Right inside the three pound lump of mush that is my brain I have Jesus’ thoughts at work.


I’m considering today what I cannot consider. I’m auditing my incompetencies. I’m embracing my small mindedness and celebrating it in humility. Which is why and how God teaches me to pray. I am on the planet these few years to learn conversational dependence. And that humility with his mind thinking through me allows me to pray with his wisdom, his perspective, his attitude, his insight, his creativity, his logic, his memory, his common sense, and his strategic foresight. I can live beyond myself because he has come to live within me. It’s all too much to fathom. My bounded rationality kicks in; I’m too small to understand it. But my faith gives me access to his boundless strength!


“Jesus, you are brilliant and wise. When I give you access to my life you give me access to yours. Today I need your way of thinking. I have a challenge or two before me that push me out beyond my pay grade. I can’t think fast enough or clearly enough. But you can and do. Do so now, in me. Amen.”

Through the day and beyond

I love the simple prayer of Pastor Morris Vaagenes: “I can’t. You can. Please do. Thank you.” Borrow this through the day and begin to think very differently!


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