IDENTITY FORMATION: Prayer & Reflection

IDENTITY FORMATION: Prayer & Reflection

Overview:

1) What NOT to draw our identities from

2) What we SHOULD draw our identities from

3) How to live out our identity

  • What NOT to draw our identities from

 

  1. Talent

Dear Lord Jesus,

I thank you for every talent and skill you have given me.

LORD, I also humble myself and repent for any resentment I may have towards you for NOT giving me certain talents.

Even as I remain grateful for the talents you have given me, please Lord, do not allow me to make these talents  my reigning identity.

The world values my talents more than it values me. The world values what I do more than it values who I am. Teach me Holy Spirit, to reject this paradigm. Teach me never to measure my worth by my talents.

Lord, even as the world is constantly thrusting its talent-based identity on me, help me to resist this. Help me remember that a talent-based identity will never bring real fulfillment.

Lord, I repent also for the times when I have felt insecure or threatened when  another person with similar or better talent shows up in my circle of influence.

Holy Spirit, please help me experience the truth that God’s love for me is not based on my talents. In doing so, help me peel away my talent-based identity and put on the identity of being a child of God, created in a unique way for His good pleasure.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

2. Circumstances

ABBA Father,

Every day, a new set of circumstances unfold in my life. Some are good, some are bad. Please Lord, let neither the good nor the bad circumstances dilute my devotion to Christ Jesus.

I know Lord, that both these circumstances could lead me to sin against you.

So often I see these circumstances more clearly that I see you. These circumstances seem to be more real and more near and more powerful than you. I confess this is my unbelief.

May the good circumstances not distract me with shallow happiness and may the bad circumstances not deflate me with unnecessary sadness.

Holy Spirt, help me cling to Christ Jesus a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul! (Hebrews 6:19)

Even though the waves may roar, even though the storms may come, may my identity always be totally based on Christ my anchor!

Amen.

 

3. Fear

Dear Lord Jesus,

When Nebuchadnezzar demanded that Daniel deliver or die, he was not crippled with fear, but he was mobilised to prayer.

But I am so inclined to slip into prayerless fear when I am faced with the threat of a job loss or failure in business or in a project. When pressure mounts at work, when a client makes impossible demands or a boss buries me under unrealistic deadlines, I am often afraid.

This has become such an intense pattern that my identity is being shaped so much my fear of failure. In these dark moments, I lose sight of your goodness and your power. I behave like an orphan forgetting that I am a child of God.

Even as I pray this, I can see how selfish I am! I am limiting faith to  just praying to God for help in moments of fear and failure….But help me rise above this and see real faith as standing up to display the glory of God’s name even through my trials.

Holy Spirit, every time my heart experiences any fear, would you pour into my heart, faith in Christ, that is ten times more powerful than all of my fears and unbelief.

Amen.

 

4. Power

Abba Father,

I may not see myself as hungry for power, but deep inside I know that I do desire the power to control my own life and the power to control the lives of at least a few others.

At some level, I do crave for absolute power to control all aspects of my life. I want everything to align to how I want them to be. But I am repenting now as I am seeing that this desire is a rejection of  the sovereignty of God.

I do tend to forget that I am just a created being. I rebel and tend not to submit to the purposes my creator for me.

So often, I am stupid not to realise that the more I  try to control my life and my environment, the more I am also controlled by my environment. I forget that if I want to control what my boss thinks of me, I will be controlled by what my boss thinks of me!!

Holy Spirit, please Lord, help me always see how Jesus Christ, the most powerful one willingly gave up all power and became so vulnerable, even to death on a cross. He did this because He trusted in the justice of the Father and in His power to raise Him up from the dead!

Help me give up every desire for my own power, that I might truly experience the power of God for holiness.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

5. Performance

Abba Father,

You have called me to live a life that challenges the culture of the world with the culture of the Gospel.

But so often, I am influenced by the worldly values. This is especially so true in the area of building my identity on my own performance rather than on God’s grace.

The world celebrates me  when I perform well, and it ignores me and rejects me when I fail. But you Abba Father, see me only through the prism of Christ’s perfect performance on my behalf.

Faith and good sense tells me I should build my identity on Christ’s performance. But I so often foolishly chose to build my identity on my own performance.

This performance driven culture makes it seem as if my hope, future, success, happiness, fulfillment, worth, value, significance, and my very salvation depends on my performance at work…..Help me reject this lie, Lord.

Unreasonable bosses (like King Nebuchadnezzar) will force me to build my identity on my performance. Help me reject this too, Lord.

Help me always remember and live in the truth that an identity forged by grace is far more stable and fulfilling than the identities I build based on my own performances.

Abba Father, I ask in the name of your beloved son Christ Jesus, help me reject the drug of performance and teach me to live on the healing balm of grace.

Amen.

 

6. Our Dreams

Dear Lord Jesus,

I confess and repent that in dreaming about this dazzling image of myself that I am seeking, I forget that you are the only truly dazzling and beautiful one. I often push you out of my consciousness so I can build a dazzling image of myself.

Forgive me Lord, and help me realise that your desire, your plan, your commitment to me is to justify me, to sanctify me and to glorify me!

Help me Lord, reject the identity in the fake and cheap and temporary glory I seek for myself and help me embrace the identity in the true, rich and eternal glory you desire for me to have in Christ Jesus.

Help me always remember the power in Galatians 2:20

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Amen.

 

7. Their Dreams

Holy Spirit,

Help me always remember that you who are in me is greater than he who is in the world.

Lord, I am aware that there are so many people in this world who are strong and shrewd in trying to get me to serve their selfish dreams.

Rather than resent them or give into them, help me always remember that the only thing that can make me give in to their dreams is not their power or their cunning, by my own fears and foolishness.

Like Nebuchadnezzar, many people will DEMAND that I serve THEIR dreams.  It is only if I am NOT strong enough in my identity in Christ Jesus, that my  fears will enslave me to their dreams.

So Lord, please help me put my roots deep in Jesus. Teach me to hide in Christ.

Lord, for those of us, who have already been taken captive to someone else’s selfish dreams, we pray for your freedom and for your deliverance.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

 

  • What we SHOULD draw our identities from

 

  1. God’s Sovereignty

Believing in the sovereignty of God trains us to be both patient in adversity and thankful in prosperity.

The Heidelberg catechism:

To the degree that we affirm God’s

absolute and minute control of every single thing that happens…

…..to that same degree we can be confident, courageous and hopeful in the future, and patient in the midst of suffering.

 

To the degree that we limit,

place conditions on or

deny God’s absolute control over all the events of history and of our lives…..

……to that same degree we will be anxious and fearful about the future, and resentful and depressed about the past. 

 

Abba Father,

 

I joyfully submit and surrender to your sovereignty Lord.

Thank you for helping me see that my deepest security lies in your sovereignty.

Thank you for helping me see that I am truly secure only when my identity is based on your sovereignty; not when it is based on my own power and actions.

And so Lord, I pray the song of praise that King Nebuchadnezzar sung when he found joy in your sovereignty

God, your dominion is an eternal dominion; your kingdom endures from generation to generation.

You do as you please and everything you do is right and all your ways are just. (Daniel 4:34-37 NIV)

Amen.

 

2. God’s Pleasure

Dear Lord Jesus,

Help me to feel your pleasure in everything you have called me to.

Help me feel your pleasure when I work at office or at home.

Help me feel your pleasure when I sing or make music, or write or act or dance.

Help me feel your pleasure when I earn, give. spend and save.

Help me feel your pleasure as a husband, wife, father, mother and whatever role you have called me to.

Above all Lord, help me see the pleasure you feel, when you see me as your child redeemed and made perfect through the atoning sacrifice of your Son Christ Jesus.

Help me remember, believe and live out of the truth that I bring you pleasure because I am hidden in Christ.

Teach me to rest in this Lord. Teach me to rest from my striving and teach me to rest in the finished work of Christ.

Help me remember not to build my identity on the things I do or do not do, but help me to build my identity in Christ.

Amen.

 

 

  •  How to live out our identity

 

Public Faith

Holy Spirit,

Help me always remember and live out the power of Romans 1:16

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”

Please give me the alertness, boldness, wisdom, sensitivity, a genuine love for people and gentleness and respect in being public about my faith in every relevant opportunity.

Lord, shape my thoughts, words, deeds, my personality, my character, and my very  being in such a way that my identity in Christ will be apparent to everyone around me.

Lord, may my public faith never be forced or awkward, but may it be natural, spontaneous, winsome and fearless!

Help me be mindful that I am an ambassador of Christ and together, we are the body of Christ! Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may be your witness everywhere I live work and play.

In Jesus’ name, Amen