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Dependency Upon God

Independence is an American ideal, but God-dependency is a believer’s necessity.

As Americans we are rightly proud of our Declaration of Independence. It took a lot of courage for those men in 1776 to declare their independence from the mightiest nation on earth at the time, realizing the great cost it would take to actually achieve that independence. From that day on, independence has been a coveted American trait. Our folk stories are filled with tales of poor but proud individuals who, against all odds, “pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps.”

We still have a strong tendency toward independence. We don’t like to be told what to do. We want to do things ourselves. We have a distaste for those who could make it on their own, but instead rely on the generosity of others. Much of this high regard for independence is good and honorable. The danger arises when we carry it over into our relationship with Jesus.

God will have nothing to do with the independent person. He deals graciously with those who have learned that they are in every way dependent upon Him. “He opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). It is, however, a very difficult thing to make the switch from a culture that glorifies independence into a lifestyle that demonstrates complete dependence upon God.

Hear what God’s Word says concerning our inability to function properly apart from depending upon Him:

“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain” (Psalm 127:1).

I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Not that we are competent to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5).

The most practical way to live the life of dependence upon God, is to make prayer the central activity of our lives. In prayer we recognize our need and God as the One who can meet our need. We come before Him with empty hands, having nothing to offer but our need. This is the place that causes many to resist being people of prayer.

Ronnie Floyd in his powerful book, How to Pray, gets to the heart of the matter as he shares two critical statements concerning prayer:

  • Prayer occurs when you depend on God.
  • Prayerlessness occurs when you depend on yourself.

God will have nothing to do with the independent person.

Have you ever heard a little child say, “I can do it myself”? The parent must watch as the child makes a mess of things, until in frustration the child cries out for help. How often is this the situation in our own lives as we first try to do things ourselves, and only in time of crises call out to God for help?

God is calling us to put away the childishness of thinking we can do anything without Him—our Creator. In humility we need to draw near to God and confess our inadequacy and complete dependence upon him.

We can say that we believe we are dependent upon God, but it is in our daily prayer lives that we will see the “rubber hit the road.” In the life dependent upon God, prayer becomes as natural as breathing – all that we do is brought before the Lord. There is no aspect of life that is outside the realm of prayer.

We should begin the day by thanking God for the night’s rest and the new day. This attitude of recognizing that all we have comes from His hand, will cause us to spend much time in prayers of thanksgiving in the course of our daily activities. This is a big step in acknowledging our dependence.

Throughout each day we can draw near to the Lord in intimate prayer, getting to know Him better. In prayer we put on our armor and trust in the victory of the One who died on our behalf. We can submit our thoughts, actions and words to Him. Simply and in humility, we can ask Him for direction and provision for the day. Asking for the outpouring of His Spirit, we can pray God’s blessings on those we come in contact with, and bring loved ones, pastors, missionaries and world leaders to Him for His intervention and work in their lives.

God desires us to come to the place where we can admit that we are hopeless and helpless on our own, so that he can call us to a Declaration of Dependence as we humble ourselves before Him in prayer and worship.

Used with permission of

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Category: Living the Faith

About the Author: David Butts, M.A. (Indiana State University), Ph.D. (Atlantic Coast Theological Seminary), is president of Harvest Prayer Ministries and has nearly twenty years of experience in pastoral ministry. Besides authoring numerous magazine articles on prayer and missions for various publications, Dave is the author of ​When God Shows Up: Essay in Revival (2013), Desperate for Change: 40 Days of Prayer for America (2013), The Devil Goes to Church: Combating the Everyday Attacks of Satan (2003, 2016), Prayer and the End of Days: Praying God's Purposes in Troubled Times (2009), <em>​Asleep in the Land of Nod: Thirty Days of Prayer Toward Awakening the Church (2008), Revolution on Our Knees, Forgotten Power: A Simple Theology for a Praying Church (2015), and With One Cry: A Renewed Challenge to Pray for America (2016). He wrote Pray Like the King: Lessons from the Prayers of Israel's Kings (2007) and ​Vertical with Jesus​: A 30-Day Journey to Impact Kingdom Living (2014) jointly with his wife, Kim. He has also completed DVD presentations on leadership and prayer. See his page for current itinerary. Twitter: @hpmdave

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