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Devotion for February 10, 2007

Devotions

Every May, the city of Fruita, Colorado, celebrates “Mike the Headless Chicken Day.” They remember Mike the chicken who, back in 1945, survived the chopping block. Mike lived a year and a half after the fateful day when Farmer Lloyd lopped off his head.

Our passage today describes what it means to pray like Mike. We’ve been freed from the guilt and power of our sin. Through Christ, our sinful nature has been lopped off, but like that stubborn bird, we’re still acting like it’s intact. And this is devastating for our prayer lives.

James describes this condition in today’s reading. As children of God, we have every privilege to go to Him, to believe that He can provide for us, and to ask Him for what we need. But rather than choosing this, we resort to what we did before we knew Christ. We covet what we don’t have, hurt anyone who stands in our way of getting it, and fight tooth and nail for what we think we rightfully deserve.

If we actually do remember to pray, God doesn’t answer because our prayers aren’t an expression of submission to His purposes. In reality, our prayers are not-so-subtle maneuvers to, in the end, get what we want.

Yesterday we saw that we are encouraged to make requests of God. This is an important part of prayer, not just because we want God to work as we ask, but because the very act of asking requires us to examine our hearts and our motives.

If we peel away the layers of our prayer requests, would we find a genuine desire for God to gain glory for Himself and for His fame to spread? Will our requests, if answered, draw ourselves and others into closer fellowship and obedience to the King? Or are we ultimately asking that our lives be made easy and comfortable? When we discover selfishness in our prayers, the cure is humility (v. 10).Every May, the city of Fruita, Colorado, celebrates “Mike the Headless Chicken Day.” They remember Mike the chicken who, back in 1945, survived the chopping block. Mike lived a year and a half after the fateful day when Farmer Lloyd lopped off his head.

Apply the Word

God commands us in this passage to humble ourselves. Humility means recognizing how easily our love and loyalty for God becomes divided. Reflect on (or even sing through) the words of the hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” “Oh to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be. Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee: prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”

BY Jennifer Michel

Jen Pollock Michel is a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog. Her first book, Teach us to Want: Longing, Ambition and the Life of Faith, is published by InterVarsity Press. Jen earned her BA in French from Wheaton College and her MA in Literature from Northwestern University. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and five children, and serves on staff at Grace Toronto Church.

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