“Dear God, if you would give me a better life I promise to pray three times a day”
“Dear God, if you would give me a million dollars, I promise to give 20% to charity”
“Dear God – if you do this – I do that”
How many times do we keep hearing these kinds of prayers? How many times have I said those exact words? What was I thinking? Is God a Gambling Addict? Does He sit and make deals?
This specific character trait comes from my ego, my manipulation and my want to feel in control – what is called “false control”. God does not need my deals, he doesn’t need my conditions, and he doesn’t need my 20%. All God wants is that I recognize him as a power much greater than myself, and that with out his help or his will I cannot achieve anything. I am powerless over any and every situation I face. I must come to understand that there are things I can and things I cannot change. The only things I can change is myself and my defects of character. The way I perceive things and the way I react to situations – these are in my minimal amount of so called “control” which that in it self is only with the help of a power much greater than myself.
However, a question may arise… How can you say not to ‘bargain’? Didn’t Jacob our forefather bargain with God?
“Jacob awoke in the morning and he swore an oath saying; ‘Behold if the Lord will be with me, will guard me on my path, nourish me, and give me clothing to wear; Will bring me back to my father’s home in peace; I will proclaim God to be my Lord: This stone that I have put as a sign will be the house of worship and all that will be given to me I shall tithe” (Genesis 28:20-22)
We see from the above quote that Jacob was negotiating or making deals with God. But the truth is; that only a few verses earlier it says how God came to Jacob in his dream and promised him riches and lands for him and his descendants. When Jacob awoke from his dream, he showed gratitude to his new found higher power. He came to realize that the land he was sleeping on was holy – he came to a spiritual awakening. Therefore Jacob was saying. “God thank you so much for this revelation – if you truly have these great things for me in store – enough only these basics that I ask for – but if riches and lands is what is in your will, let me give back some, at least 10%” Jacob is not bargaining or making any deals at all – quite the opposite in fact – he is deflating his ego, he is objectifying his “high” and saying that the truth all he needs is his basic necessities, but if God sees him fit for riches he must remember to give back and not only take!
This is a great lesson for me today. I am going through this same high. I see a certain business opportunity, that can potentially make a lot of money if successful. However I must remember that God is in control, not me. “Thy will be done, not mine” Therefore I pray a similar prayer than that of Jacob’s. “Please dear Lord, if this opportunity is feasible, and it is your will that I should follow through with it. I promise to tithe and even double tithe all that I profit from. This is no deal – this is only a prayer of guidance and illumination to better understand your will for me, just for today.”