You're probably wondering about the daughter Isabella loves to clean-she comes by it honestly. I am a shameless clean freak. One morning I was working away in the kitchen while she had the mop I'd left out overnight to dry. And I look over to check on her and my then-7-month-old son, and say the five words I never thought I'd say as a parent, "Isabella, don't mop your brother!" He didn't mind, and she just wanted to make sure he was sparkly. So welcome to my world!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Helping vs. Causing

Many years ago I listened as our pastor's wife prayed during Bible study. I was struck by this one thing: instead of saying things like "Help me to be a good mom to my children" she said "Cause me to be a good mom to my children." I have hidden that gem in my heart for quite a while and it has guided my prayers immensely in the span between then and now. (and I'm picking and choosing my definitions here) defines "help" as
1. to give or provide what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need; contribute strength or means to; render assistance to; cooperate effectively with; aid; assist: 
2. to make easier or less difficult; contribute to; facilitate: 
4. to be useful or profitable to:

The same website defines "cause" as 
1. a person or thing that acts, happens, or exists in such a way that some specific thing happens as a result; the producer of an effect: 
2. the reason or motive for some human action: be the cause of; bring about.

When I pray for God to help me (which He always does anyway, so it's a bit redundant in my mind), it's asking Him to assist, to make easier. Nothing wrong with that. I am in no way condemning praying for help!


When I pray for God to cause me to take a certain action, I'm asking for Him to be the producer of the effect, the reason or motive for it! It puts more "oomph" into the request because you are asking for action instead of support. I am much more aware of God's gentle (or not so gentle) prodding when I ask Him to cause me to do something. "Cause me to see Your blessings" means that He will point them out in an obvious manner. "Cause me to disciple the children well" means that He is the reason I do it, and He will bring about those circumstances in which I most need Him (a tricky prayer, I tell ya). In my mind (and maybe only in my mind!) "cause" puts the focus on Him and His power, whereas "help" puts the focus on me.

In any case, it's something to think about.

No comments:

Post a Comment