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Prayer, Plain and Simple

“Letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace” (Romans 8:6).

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right and pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8).

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“You see, when you’re hunting for the Good things, you sort of forget the other kind.” ~Pollyanna

Pollyanna somehow morphed from a darling, optimistic orphan into a scorned adjective. Displaying optimistic tendencies has become reprehensible these days, while being “real,” is much preferred.

I read Pollyanna to my daughters when they were small, and have to admit, I sometimes found her nauseating, if my memory serves me correctly. But the older I get, the more I value faith and the more I value faith, the more I see how linked my faith is to my words and, in turn, my words to the quality of my life. More faith produces more joy. More pessimism produces more depression – something I could most certainly do without.

“I’m just going to be real.”

That statement is often a preface to what’s coming. Brace yourself. Your friend (or enemy) is aiming to level strong challenge and critique – to administer a wound if necessary in order to show you that you have been weighed in the scales and found wanting.

Being “real” is also used as an excuse for complaining, for seeing the glass half empty rather than half full. Realism feels and sounds more intellectual; the darker we portray ourselves, the more artistic or enlightened we appear.

Most people would insist that Pollyanna is just simply uninformed; she hasn’t been paying attention to the world. She hasn’t been watching CNN. And she certainly isn’t on social media.

We, however, don’t take our cues from this world’s standards of what’s acceptable. We take our cues from the Word of God which is our manual for living, our GPS for getting where God wants our lives to go, our instructions for discovering how life works.

Scripture tells us that, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Our words inform the world around us whether or not we have faith, in whom that faith is based, or on what that faith stands.

Pollyanna and Social Media

Listen to your words today. What do you chatter about? Do you find yourself negative, complaining and critiquing people, situations, and leaders? If so, you certainly won’t be accused of being Pollyanna. But the question is: will you be accused of being a follower of Jesus?

The grid Paul gives us in Philippians of what to focus on will invariably have an effect on our words, for, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

Do you dare to become a person whose words are refined by a worldview that sees situations through the eyes of faith rather than through worry, critique, or hopelessness? If so, join us in this plain and simple prayer…

Father,

My words exhaust me and no-doubt those within earshot. I don’t leave room for Your perspective because I am so full of my own. I see the world through the tiniest knothole. You see the vast picture, the beginning from the end, and everything in-between.

Today I give you my mind. I desire to love you with it. I want to see situations, people, and myself through eyes of faith. Ultimately, I’m aiming at becoming Jesus-like. He’s my model, my mentor, my hero, and my closest friend. Like Him, please assist me to say only the things I hear Holy Spirit whisper in my ear.

I’m certain that this change of habit will only come when my heart is transformed by Your holy Word, when I wake up daily to take up that old cross again, my own to bear, without complaining.

Please forgive me for all the idle words I’ve wasted, for all my negative talk. Set a guard over my mouth today, Lord. Keep me quiet unless I have something good to say, something worth hearing.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

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