God wants us ‘all in’. Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper says “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: Mine!” It’s all His.
I heard an interesting story last week about a man named Nicolai, a Romanian song writer and a Christ follower who was imprisoned for some time by the corrupt regime that ruled for far too long in that eastern European nation. Every day of his life this Godly man prayed the same prayer at the start of each new day, even during his torture and imprisonment. ‘God, break my plans.”
The singing group This Hope wrote a song about Nicolai and the chorus says:
Break my plans, shape my heart;
Take my will to where You are;
Move my mind through Your Word;
'Til all that I am lives to love You, Lord
Break my plans, shape my heart …What a bold, dangerous prayer. Break my plans, Lord, and give me yours. Give me your plans Lord for I want your ways to be my ways, your thought my thoughts.
Whew!!! In effect he was praying. I’ll do anything, anytime, anywhere Lord for you. Anything, anytime, anywhere. Anyone want to pray that prayer today?
Break my retirement plans Lord.
Move me to the inner city.
Alter my dreams for my kids so that they align more fully with your purposes Lord.
Adjust my income downward so I can live in greater dependence on you.
Help me to give away more and do with less.
Break my plans Lord. I give you permission to rock my world. Your will, not mine.
Here’s what I’m thinking. Praying like that is hard for us. Or at least it is for me. Cuz I like my plans. And so do you.
Last week Anita and I were on Coronado Island in California and both thought that this would be a great place to cozy down, to live our last days. After peaking at the real estate listings we realized that all we’d need to live within shouting distance of the beach was a cool 3.2 million dollars. But even before we looked we realized we were being taken in by the seductive charm of a truly lovely place. And for us, at least, that wouldn’t be good.
Maybe it was because we had just heard the story of Nicolai that caused us to question what was going on inside of us. Even if we had the money and inclination would living here be God’s best for us? Would God have a purpose for us here? What would God be calling us to? In light of the deep needs all around us would this be the anything, anywhere, anytime kind of thing God would call us to?
Those are hard questions especially for those of us who feel entitled to just about ‘well everything’. For God’s ways, God’s purposes often lead us away from what we think we’re entitled to and rivet our attention on some of the deeper needs of this world, to care about the world the way God wants it cared for, to see it as He sees it.
Because of the influence of my wife and others I’ve been increasingly interested in what is happening to people around the world, especially women. I’ve seen first hand what poverty can do. I’ve been reminded, over and over again, of the global epidemic of sex trafficking. I’ve learned that in some countries a man is not considered a man until he has a son and that daughters are in some ways quite disposable.
And all throughout the world, even in places down the road from us, women wake up each day hungry, fearful, and in bondage. They look at their children and can only hope for medicine and food for them. They live in conditions that would make us weep and raise our fists to the heavens.
And they pray. For God to intervene in what looks like a sure plan for their day. Break these plans, they cry out to God. End our poverty. Deliver us from evil. Give us this day our daily bread. Rescue us from slavery. Save our children. Break our plans for the day. For they are truly awful plans. Bring something new and fresh and life-giving to us.
And I’m convinced that God does want to break those plans. And that he wants to use us to break them … us, men and women willing to have our own personal agendas broken, altered, and refocused. Then, to be used by God as a means to both rescue and empower those crying out to the Lord.