Prayers of the “Color-Blind” Christian

My father was color-blind.  Everything in the world appeared to him in various shades of gray, except for one color.  Red.  His whole life was spent seeing the world like a weird noir comic strip or old black and white movie with splashes of red ink or red colorized film.  He learned to adapt– to memorize color patterns for signs and traffic lights; to guess at colors based on past experience (roses that weren’t red or white were likely to be pink or yellow); to trick people into telling him the color of an object–but I always felt sad to know that he was missing out on so much beauty.  He had a marvelous eye for patterns and probably could have been a great artist or art critic…if only.

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So it always bothers me when people use the term “color-blind” to refer to themselves in relation to bigotry, racism, and loving (or not loving) fellow human beings.  Being “color-blind” is not a desirable thing;  it is not a Godly thing.  God created colors, and skin tones, and genetic codes that shape similarities and differences across the human race– the single and uniformly fallen and redeemed human race.  He blessed the world with variety and beauty, and He gave us eyes to see it and appreciate it– to be color-blind is to miss out on that, and to belittle and disregard God’s gifts.  There is no segregation in Heaven– no “white” God or “black” God or “red” or “yellow” God– no separation of people groups or subsets of nationalities, languages, denominations, or cultures.  Everyone is precious and unique in God’s eyes– every one loved with an everlasting and boundless love.  God doesn’t want a world of gray, two-dimensional, interchangeable followers.  He wants a vibrant, dynamic, beautiful bride.

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photo of four persons uniting hands
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What we need are fewer Christians who claim (disingenuously) to be color-blind, and more color-rich Christians– Christ followers who encourage and appreciate one another, pushing each other to love and good works.

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If we were all color-blind, there would be one stark image that would never leave our vision– each follower of Christ would stand out in sharp contrast with the rest of the gray world, as they would be washed by the very red blood of the Savior.  All other pretensions of color and division would be lost.

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Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me;
I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see!

“Praying Favorites”

We all have lists of “favorites”– favorite color, favorite foods, favorite songs, favorite bands, favorite movies, favorite books…the list goes on and on.  And we all have our comfort zones– preferences, habits, traditions, routines– that impact the way we go through our daily lives.  There is nothing inherently wrong with having favorite things or preferences.  But we can let such things become idols or obsessions that get in the way of prayer and worship.

We all know someone who has a “pet peeve”–it comes up in every conversation, overshadows more important issues, and becomes a defining characteristic of that person.  “Grammar Nazi”, “Clean Freak”, “Political Junkie”,  that person who always spoils the new movie by giving you their critique; the person who can spot a piece of lint on your sweater from across the room; the person at the restaurant who is never satisfied…

We probably also know someone who “plays favorites”– they show favoritism in their families, in the workplace, and in other situations, to the detriment of others.  They are unjust in their treatment; giving very unequal amounts of attention, time, energy, and love to those around them.  This world plays favorites– we have celebrities, rock stars, corporate bigwigs, power brokers, tyrants, and billionaires, while countless millions remain nameless,  forgotten, and oppressed.

God doesn’t “play favorites.”  He chooses to bless both the just and the unjust; he offers the same salvation and mercy to rich and poor, foolish and wise, famous and forgotten, sanctimonious and scandalous; to any who will receive him.  We must remember this in our prayers.  God wants to hear our heart-cry; he wants all of it– our favorite praises, our naked confessions, our pet peeves, and our deepest needs.  He does not bless us based on who we are, or how urgent our request may be to us–remember, he knows what is on our mind before we do!  AND, he already knows our deepest needs, and which seemingly unimportant moments will have the greatest impact in our lives, and in our world.

 

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One of the benefits I have found in keeping a prayer journal is reading back requests and needs I have raised–for two reasons.  First, I am amazed and encouraged to see all the ways God has answered prayer over the months and years as I look back.  I am reminded, humbled, astonished, and grateful–I receive fresh inspiration to worship, evidence to trust, and encouragement to hope.

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Second, I am watching to see if I am “praying favorites”–spending more time listing and praying for “rock star” requests (miraculous healing, “prayer chain” prayers from the internet for people I don’t know, selfish prayers, praying for people based on their “importance”, etc.) than for the “other things” (my friend who wants prayer because she’s having a bad day, that friend who wants me to pray that his mother’s car will start after a cold and snowy weekend, confessing that “little” sin, praying for my annoying neighbor who just lost her cat, etc. ),  There’s nothing wrong with praying for the former, unless those prayers are squeezing out other needs and getting in the way of being wholly open before God and seeking His heart and others’ needs above my own preferences.

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