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First World Idols

By J.

Below are two prayers that I initially wrote for myself as I found my

self drawn towards prioritising comfort and approval. These are two idols, ubiquitous in a wealthy, post-Christian country like Australia, that we often don’t recognise in ourselves. I hope you will find them helpful as we take up our cross and follow Christ together, knowing that our reward is

not on earth but ultimately stored up

for us in heaven.

Against comfort

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” (Philippians 2:12-15)

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12-13)

Father, I pray against the idol of comfort, that my own comfort would no longer be a driving motivator in my life. Lord, help me to take appropriate self-care, but not hesitate to give up my own comfort to do what is right in the sight of God and to love my neighbours. Help me to do so with joy and not grumbling. Lord, help me to be content in all circumstances whether in plenty or in need, depending on your strength to provide for every situation. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Against approval

Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an

undivided heart, that I may fear your name. (Psalm 86:11)

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Luke 12:4-7)

Father, I pray against the idol of human approval. Father, you know how I shy away from being bold for the sake of your name and for truth when I know other people’s approval of me is at stake. Lord, transform my heart that my security would rest soundly on your unchanging faithfulness rather than be blown about by the ever-changing winds of human approval. Give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name alone, and not fear what other people think of me. Lord give me articulate, well-informed words to speak, that I may be a messenger of your light, able to point people to the gospel when they are in darkness.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


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