Below is a prayer from Scotty Smith, a pastor who frequently writes prayers and sends them out as emails. The man is brutally honest with himself and God and this is something I love about him because it shows me how I have to be. I loved this prayer in specific because it speaks to me so much of that struggle to perform, something I have done my whole life.
Growing up always under the gun to get the best grades and what have you, this built in me over time a need to be something. Living my life as though I had something to prove to others by way of whatever I was doing, this over time made me a prideful person who lived for the approval of others. This is something God has been showing me a lot about myself. So much so, how this same mindset has come out in my relationship with God, with others, with my fiance and at work. This does so much in me and as a result I am prone to do what is expected rather than do what flows from my heart. This is an issue because as long as I perform, my heart will go unchanged, but when I see what is expected, see that my heart doesn't measure up, I am then ready for the REAL change that can only be brought about by God and His Spirit...
Any way...enough about me (no seriously, enough...this may seem as humility, but this too can also be a sense of pride, after all, look at how "honest and humiliating" I am being...Yeah God has shown me a lot...a lot more than I wanted to see)
Here is the prayer he wrote yesterday... enjoy!
A Prayer for Recovering Performers and Those with Residual Legalism
I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Cor. 9:23-27
Dear Jesus, how I praise you for showing me the difference between doing all things for the sake of the gospel, and doing all things just to ease my guilt and fuel my pride. The difference is enormous.
For too long I believed that by my doing I could intensify your loving; that by my obedience I could earn more of your blessings; that by my good works I could deserve less hard things in life. The recovering performer and residual legalist in me still defaults to that foolish way of thinking, so I praise you for the ongoing teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit. I praise you for showing me more about living in line with the truth of the gospel (Gal. 2:14). I praise you for all the freedoms you have won for us, including the freedom to obey you from our hearts.
Thank you for setting us free from a wage-earning view of salvation and obedience. We run for a crown; we don’t work for a paycheck, and, ultimately, every crown will be laid at your feet, Jesus, for you have earned our salvation for us; you deserve every crown. It’s what you have already done for us that enables us to serve you as a beloved Bride, not a fearful slave. Though our obedience demonstrates our love for you (John 14:15), it merits absolutely nothing—zilch, nada, zero.
Thank you for setting us free from beating ourselves up out of shame, or bloating ourselves up out of pride. We now train ourselves for godliness, not acceptance. As we bring our appetites and bodies in submission to the gospel (1Tim. 4:7-8), you free us for fruitful discipleship. Forgive us when we are more disciplined out of vanity than out of a commitment to grow as your disciples.
Thank you for setting us free running aimlessly and beating the air. We now live in a story of redemption and restoration. All of history is bound up with your commitment to redeem your people from the nations and to make all things new. We praise you for rescuing us from little narratives of self-fulfillment for a life of kingdom advancement. We praise you for the promise of enough grace for the whole race.
Jesus, you won the ultimate prize for us by your life of perfect obedience—even obedience to death upon the cross (Phil. 2:1-11). Only this gospel—this good news qualifies us to “share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col. 1:12). We do not fear losing our salvation, but do let us grieve the ways we misrepresent you and “fritter away” this one short life you’ve given us. Show us how to do all things for the sake of the gospel, by the grace and truth of the gospel, for the ultimate goal of the gospel—your glory. So very Amen we pray, in your holy and loving name.