An Answer for When All Else Fails
ave you ever had a problem, a bad habit, or a relational conflict that you couldn't overcome or resolve no matter hard you tried, how much you sought help, and even how hard you prayed?
I have. For years I struggled with a relational conflict that I did everything I could think of to resolve—including getting intensive counseling and praying relentlessly.
Finally in utter desperation I prayed, "God, I beg you to show me the truth and reality of what I am still contributing to this mess I am in."
In two weeks I got the answer. I saw my super codependency. I hadn't even heard of that word back then, but what I saw was that I was trying to fix somebody else's problem but not seeing my own and thought I was being a good Christian! Wrong. I was a needy Christian; that is, I needed to feel needed in order to feel loved and that, of course isn't love. It's need.
Once I saw the truth of what I was doing, I knew what I had to do to fix my problem. As Jesus said, "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free."1 I also realized that the only person's problem I could fix was my own. (When we try to fix others, it makes them understandably angry and ads to the problem).
Why did it take so long to get my prayer answered? Because I'd been praying the wrong prayer. I'd been asking for deliverance from the symptoms and denying the true cause/s of my problem.
In the Bible James wrote, "The reason you don't have what you want is that you don't ask God for it. And even when you do ask, you don't get it because your whole aim is wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure."2
True, we need to treat our symptoms, but the reality is God wants to heal the root cause of our problems because if we don't deal with the root, we can easily exchange one symptom for another.
Praying this prayer is a sure-fire way
to resolve just about any conflict.
So now whenever I have a problem, I always ask God to face or confront me with the truth of what I am contributing to it—only then do I ask him to show me the truth of what others are contributing and the truth of the overall situation. The important thing always is to face the truth about myself because I am the only person I can change anyhow.
I have found that whenever I have prayed this prayer, and truly meant it, God has always answered it. It is one of the most effective prayers I have ever prayed. It has changed my life. Often I don't want to face the truth about myself because I am too afraid so I also pray, "God I am willing to be made willing to face the truth about me no matter how much it might hurt."
Praying this prayer is a sure-fire way to resolve just about any conflict. That is, if both parties are willing to pray this prayer and truly meant it—accept the answer.
Based on twenty years of research from the University of Colorado the No. One "breaker-upper" of marriages is the inability to resolve conflict...to which I would add and the number one inability to resolve conflict is the unwillingness to face the truth of what each partner is contributing.
Certainly we need to learn effective communication and conflict resolution skills. Both are very important. However, when all else fails in a conflict, if a couple will fall on their knees before God and each ask God to reveal to them the truth of what they are contributing to the conflict—and truly mean it—God will show them. No blaming the other person. No asking God to show the other person anything. Just ask God to show you what you are contributing because in every conflict each person is contributing something—even if you are being "too nice" which is usually being dishonest and weak.
If two people will own up to their unresolved personal issues (which are often at the root of many, if not most, conflicts) and pray the above prayer, I believe they will be able to resolve just about any conflict. Each needs to mean it with all their heart, otherwise it won't work.
I tried it recently. It worked. Afterwards I wrote:
hand in hand
heart to heart
upon our knees
we touched the throne of God
and found his mercy there.
Remember, "The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth."3
1. John 8:32.
2. James 4:2-3, (TLB).
3. Psalm 145:18 (NIV).
5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.
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