I pray this phrase almost every day, "Lord, keep me close". I think I began praying this several months ago in reaction to 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. In this passage, Paul is describing a thorn that was put in his life, basically for the purpose of keeping him close to the Lord. How great is it that we have a God who wants to keep us close to Him? (I could continue writing on 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 because there is so much there, and verse 10 is insane, but I need to restrain myself and stay focused on this thought.)
In recent months, and even more so in the past couple weeks, I've dwelled on what has been in the back of my mind for a while. And that is, there is some friction, a nervousness, in my heart when I pray this. I think thats because praying this can be scary.
I utter this phrase countless times a day in my own prayers and in prayer with and for others. I think this phrase says many different things at different times, but most often it's saying, "Lord, help me trust you more today". I think there is a scary version of this, and a not-so-scary version. The not-so-scary version is that I'm asking God to change my heart into a heart that trusts Him more. We must not lean on our own ability or understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). We must seek God in everything, everyday, and that requires us to mindfully shift our focus to Christ.
The scary version is that God will put me in a situation that requires me to trust Him more. That is scary, and it can be extremely painful, but it can also be very exciting.
Recently, I was talking with a friend who expressed some stress over a debt she had to pay. The money just isn't there every month for her to pay the minimum payment. I sat there with her and explained how great of a situation she was in. Every month she can pray that God will somehow work and help her pay this debt. She has the opportunity to trust God and see Him work on this specific thing. There is joy in trusting God to work in an opportunity.
We should desire to be close to God. Our sinful flesh doesn't want it, but praying daily for it makes His thoughts our thoughts and His ways our ways. So, yes, despite the friction and nervousness in my sinfully fearful heart, I will continue to pray, "Lord, keep me close".
I wanted to try to work in Isaiah 55:6-9 more, but there is a lot in it and I couldn't get there for this post. For the sake of meditation, here it is anyways (and some others).
"Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts."
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths."
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
"So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, ha messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."