CAST your anxieties upon the Lord, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
I’m working on my prayer journal, and have come up with a simple(r) acronym that takes up less space in the binder than my previous ACT before you ASK routine did.
There are a lot of C words that could be used for the first letter of my acronym, I’ve pondered on them all week, and they all are credible. But ultimately, I chose the word Commit, because of these instructions of Sacred Scripture:
Ps 37:5, Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
Prov 16:3 Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
The dictionary defines the word as so: (dictionary.com)
- Clear conscience – Ps 139:23 – I pray that the Lord would search me, know me, test me, and show me areas where I have failed to live up to His righteous standard. I found several guides to making an examination of conscience, and I’ve heard of something called “examen” that I fully intend to look further into. I made a page in my prayer journal for my examination of conscience. This is how I do it now, and it seems to be working.
- Conviction/convincing – He always answers. Often, even before I ask for His help, I will be reminded in my spirit of a sin that needs to be confessed, or a habit or part of my personality that needs to be addressed, or I’ll get an insight into an area that He’s at work in, that I’m making progress in, but could do better. I really like the word “convince” better than “convict”, it brings to mind a mental picture of God’s Holy Spirit reasoning with mine, and bringing me to agreement with His views, instead of the mental picture of a lawbreaker being convicted and sentenced. Both are accurate, and theologically sound, and believe me, I have heard that gavel slam down in my own convicted spirit more times than I can count, but I also have received the tender reasoning of the Holy Spirit, that quiets the debate in my rebellious spirit, and willingly submits to seeing it His way. I much prefer the latter, don’t you?
- Contrition/confession/cleansing – I use Psalm 51 as a prayer guide for this part of my routine. If you haven’t read it, I urge you to do so…often…especially if you struggle with guilt and shame from sins of your past, or areas where you struggle to gain victory. It is a beautiful prayer of agreement with God about how He sees sin. It is a prayer of contrition, repentance, and forgiveness. It ends with a petition for the ability to praise Him, and teach His ways to others. This can only happen through a cleansed and consecrated heart.
- Consecration – this is the act of setting something aside for a specific or particular use. When we “consecrate” something, we make it “holy”, or we sanctify it. When we give ourselves to God, He makes us holy, and sets us apart for a specific purpose in His kingdom. I have a couple favorite prayers I use for giving myself to God. Some days, I don’t feel I have much to offer, and am reminded that whatever I have or don’t have, I am His, and if he wants to use me wounded and broken, I’m His. If I’ve experienced his healing hand, or a renewed sense of purpose, it’s for Him, as I have obligated myself to His service. Alone in my own thoughts, or actively engaged in my parish or community…I belong to Him…it’s up to Him, I’m just the vessel. Now that He has cleansed me, I ask Him to pour Himself through me. I pray that others will see Him in me, first in my vocation at home and with my family, and then to my parish family, and neighborhood friends and acquaintances.
I’ve found the secret to casting my burdens, cares, anxieties, and fears on the Lord begins with the recognition that I need Him, I am loved and called by Him, and that I belong to Him. When I give myself fully to the Lord, to be used as He sees fit, He is faithful to sustain me, just as He promised.