I believe it is time to change the way we pray.
Most of our prayer are self-centered and self-focused requests. You know. You have prayed them too. Prayers like, “Do this for me, God. Help me, Lord.” We often have this ‘shopping list’ of prayer requests that we take before God and repeat day-after-day and week-after-week. We often sound like a broken record, I am sure. But we continue to pray in this manner in spite of the Lord’s comment that we are not to constantly repeat ourselves like the pagans.
Matthew 6:7 “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”
I believe we need to turn things around and begin to pray Christ-centered prayers. Gospel-powered prayers. God-glorifying prayers. Where we tell God that we are willing to do whatever He asks of us and go wherever He might send us. It starts with us saying, “Anywhere, God. Anytime., Whatever you want. I’m yours. I’m available.”
When I was born again I remember waking up the next morning and telling God that no matter what He asked me to do or where He asked me to go the answer would always be “yes.” In other words, even before I knew the question or the request, He could count on me to say “yes” to whatever He asked me to do. I believe this is basic and foundational to all that I have had to honour to do for Him and all the places I have been to speak and minister.
In reality, we need to recognize that He is God and we are not. He is the Leader and we are not. So, when we go to spend time with Him we need to listen before we speak. Let Him speak first. In other words, learn to listen. Then after He has spoken we respond to what He has said. We “pray” in line with what we have heard. In this way we are praying His will and not ours. We are working with His plan and purpose and not asking Him to bless our plans. We are praying according to His Word and His will. And, when we do that, we are promised that He hears us and answers our prayers. Of course He does, He initiated the conversation and brought up the topic.
1 John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”
If this is true and we let Him initiate and thus we are responding … then there should be no such thing as unanswered prayer.
If this is true then there would be no such thing as bored believers.
If this is true then all believers should be engaged in ministry and walking in the center of God’s will for their day and even for their life.
If this is true then the Christian faith should be the greatest adventure any human being could ever desire to be on. It should be fun (Yes, I said ‘fun’) and challenging.
If this is true then we should be touching lives for Jesus on a daily basis and seeing His power transform not only individuals but communities and our society.
If this is true then prayer in itself should be exciting and always alive, electric, life-giving, dynamic, powerful, and fun. Yes, even fun!
So, I believe that for many disciples it is time to change the way we pray.
We should learn to sit down shut up, and listen. And, when God speaks – and believe me Hie will – we can then respond to what He has spoken. Then as we pray in line with what He has revealed we can become involved in seeing His plans and purposes for the day come to pass.
Now, tell me that won’t be exciting.