Don’t Think About Pink Elephants: Prayer and Repentance

For the first message in our “Frequency” series, we closed with an action step that might have looked familiar. We were given a slip of paper on which we wrote down a sin we’ve been struggling with. We then took that piece of paper to the foot of the cross, laying it down for Christ to take up. This is an action step we do fairly often at Real Life for multiple reasons. It gives us the chance to sit and reflect and pray and really get to the heart of what’s keeping us from a full relationship with Christ. It encourages to physically move in our faith; to physically take a step of growth. Finally, it lets us begin our week with a clean slate and fresh commitment.

The trouble (for me, anyway) is that too often that commitment turns into a “don’t think about pink elephants” situation: I’m so determined to not do the thing I wrote on my card that it’s all I can think about. That’s why I appreciated Sunday’s exercise so much more than usual: rather than focusing on our sins, we were also given a clear glimpse of what life in step with Christ looks like. We were shown the direction to head in, rather than a rear-view mirror to stare at.

We were given a sheet with three columns: passive rebellion, active rebellion, and God’s original design for our lives:

prayer guide columns

I admit it was far too easy for me to find sins I’ve committed in both columns. Oddly, this didn’t discourage me like it normally would have – and I attribute that to the third column. When I saw stubbornness, hopelessness, and self-pity in myself, I also saw where God promised trust, significance, and celebration.

What’s your sin, and what does God have in mind to replace it? Hesitation can be replaced by passion. A critical spirit can become a spirit of forgiveness. Sunday’s exercise gave us the opportunity to focus on what God wants for our lives, rather than just the ways in which we’ve messed up. It is repentance in its fullest form: turning away from sin, and embarking on the path of obedience.

During yesterday’s service, we were given journals to use for prayer. Jeff encouraged us to begin by rephrasing the Lord’s Prayer to address our own lives and problems and questions. Try using your journal to identify any sin in your life, and write down the replacement God wants to give you. Bring it with you for the next couple weeks and let us know how your prayer life – and your relationship with God – grows!


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