The Prayer I Fought to Pray

A little over a month ago, we had a friend on Instagram sing part of the lyrics to the song Refiner by Maverick City Music. I was captivated by our friend’s voice as he was singing these words and the screen was dark. In the darkness these words were a haunting challenge to me. A challenge of whether I was willing to let the Refiner free in my life.

If you are unfamiliar with the song, here is the link to the song:

Here are some of the words from https://genius.com/Maverick-city-music-refiner-lyrics:

[Verse 1: Chandler Moore]
If the altar’s where You meet us
Take me there,
takeme there
If what
You need is just an offering
It
sright here, my life is here
And I’ll be a living sacrifice for You

[Pre-Chorus: Chandler Moore]
You’re a fire
The Refiner
I wanna be consumed

[Chorus: Chandler Moore]
I wanna be tried by fire
Purified
You take whatever You desire
Lord, here’s my life
I wanna be tried by fire
Purified
You take whatever You desire
Lord, here’s my life

[Verse 2: Steffany Gretzinger]
If Your glory wants to come in
Let it fall, we want it all
Your fire is consuming
Fill this place, set it ablaze
And I’ll be a living sacrifice for You

[Pre-Chorus: Steffany Gretzinger & Chandler Moore]
You’re a fire
The Refiner
I wanna be consumed

[Chorus: Steffany Gretzinger & Chandler Moore]
I wanna be tried by fire
Purified
You take whatever You desire
Lord, here’s my life
I wanna be tried by fire
Purified
You take whatever You desire
Lord, here’s my life

[Bridge 1: Chandler Moore, Steffany Gretzinger & Chandler Moore]
So clean my hands
Purify my heart
I wanna burn for You
Only for You
Take my life
As a sacrifice
I wanna burn for You
Only for You

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

I looked up the song and as I sat through it the first time, I just couldn’t get past the words. I know some songs are ones that carry you along with the complex mix of melody, poetry, and prayer that they easy to sing. This song was beautiful, but I couldn’t keep listening to it.

Honestly, my thought was, do you really know what you are singing? Have you considered the consequences of singing a song like that? I have lived enough life in faith to know that an open invitation for Christ to burn away and refine me, is terrifying. When I have opened myself up like that, my world has been turned on its head. It is confusing. It hurts. It exposes what have been idols in my life and rips away the pride that has blinded me to it for so long.

I am not sure if you have ever been confronted with your idols before, but it isn’t pretty. Normally idols don’t look like something bad. Idols rationalize themselves and many times spiritualize themselves so well that you think you are doing God’s work, when you are seeking them instead.

 The idol of a “good life” that is safe and comfortable. I do whatever it takes to not upset what seems to be “good” at the time. I don’t look at the needs of others as long as my needs are taken care of and things are going well.

The idol of church work. Keeping myself doing work “for God” that I am too tired to spend time with God. Instead of doing work that brings glory “to God”, I am working to meet the need of others for the glory to me. When the glory doesn’t come, I am defeated. [Concept wording inspired by Week 2, Day 5 of Beth Moore and Melissa Moore’s study Now That Faith Has Come, Living Proof Ministries, 2020]

The idol of being right, regardless of the situation. Whether this is “right” for what the Bible says or “right” for whatever political view I have. Being “right” puffs itself up with pride. This idol never looks at the needs and experiences of others, because my worldview is all that matters. The idol of “being right” feels good to me, but pushes others away. Being right has the potential to ruin your witness, because it lacks humility. You can live for decades with it, never realizing how much it has bound you. This idol doesn’t free you, just the opposite, it binds you in chains that only get stronger and heavier the longer you worship its image (that happens to look a lot like an image of you).

The idol of control. I have a plan for my life and I will have enough of God to feel good. Enough that I can convince others that I am a good Christian. However, I have a plan for my life. Even slight detours are okay, as long as God provides His end of the bargain. The idol of control gets angry when there are major shifts in the plan. Again, as much as you want to control your life, this idol is controlling you.

For the past year or so, I have confronted these idols in my life. I walked away from them, but then life kind of fell into a rhythm again. Here I am sitting with a song, that should be something easy to just sing and my heart is convicted. I know that the next year or so are going to bring about a change to our family dynamic as we join a team to start the work for a movie Light of Life Films is going to film in March (https://www.lightoflifefilms.com/undefiled).

I know that we, as a family, are going to be stretched and will face challenges that we have never experienced before. My husband and I are going through Bible study together and are praying. We know that this work is something of God and we will not be the same on the other side of this project. I know that my heart has to be in the right place with God. I need to be in the Word, spending time in prayer, and keeping my heart open to where God is going to move.

Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash

Then I hear a song that stops me in my tracks. It was a prayer I didn’t want to pray, because I know a little what it looks like to give over my life to God. I don’t want to give my life over because it has gotten comfortable, it is safe, I know what I am doing, I have a plan, I am busy doing ministry work. My idols are screaming into my heart again.

Photo by Iulia Topan on Unsplash

This song’s sweet melody gives a voice to the Holy Spirit as I sit here. I know what I have to do: look at the idols in my hands and throw them into the fire of the Spirit. Then jump in myself. Let all of the things I have let cling to me and hinder my walk with Christ be burned away. It will hurt. It will be confusing. It will mess with what my life looks like. I will not be the same on the other side of it.

Lord, now I pray, “I wanna be tried by fire”. I want to be refined. I want what is not of You to be burned away. I know this may hurt, but I also know the freedom You hold is not worth whatever I am clinging to now. May I look back at this moment to see how my life shifted yet again to line up with Your will.

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