Prayer 3: What We Want

O Lord Our God, Grant Us Grace

To Desire You With Our Whole Heart,

That so Desiring We May Seek And Find You,

And So Finding You, May Love You,

And Loving You, May Hate Those Sins

From Which You Have Redeemed Us

— Anselm (1033 – 1109)


What do you want in prayer? Are we praying to get what we want? Or are we praying for God’s will to be done? I really think both kinds of prayer are acceptable and expected by God. I’ve come to the conclusion that we cannot pray wrongly. We must avoid a superstitious approach to prayer wherein we pray for the wrong thing, God gives it to us, and then we regret ever praying for His help. One of our key prayer goals is to so align ourselves with God that we are praying in the Spirit and our desires flow within Kingdom streams.

Foster says, “We begin praying for others by first quieting our fleshly activity and listening to the silent thunder of the Lord of hosts. Attuning ourselves to divine breathings is spiritual work, but without it our praying is vain repetition (Matt.6:7). Listening to the Lord is the first thing, the second thing, and the third thing necessary for successful intercession.”

Honestly, this all sounds very mysterious … like a medium trying to contact the spirit world. I think it is more, though, a calling to stop shooting out prayers like some kind of spiritual Wyatt Earp thinking God is going to act because we spoke something into the air. How arrogant can we be to think that just because we want something to happen, God ought to make it happen for the reason that we asked earnestly? Is the only requirement for effective prayer that we say the words with passion? I can passionately pray for a million dollars, and offer God many reasons why it would only benefit His kingdom if I were to receive it.

You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3).

Our prayers are to be aligned with His will, which we understand by reading His word. Meditation on the Scriptures is an essential part of our prayer life.

But I want to repeat a statement I wrote earlier. I’m not sure we can pray wrongly. I mean that we should not be afraid to pray, afraid of using the wrong words, afraid of saying something wrong and displeasing God. He delights to hear us and He interacts with our heart and spirits in prayer in ways we do not comprehend. We are all growing, and even those who pray and feel very inadequate in it, are precious in God’s sight when they speak to Him. But I do think we can be wrong in our prayer life by ignoring the need to grow in this spiritual discipline, being satisfied with a repetitious and unadventurous walk with God.  And that is why I am focusing on this area currently.

***Links & Thoughts***

Send a card of sympathy to the family who lost their teenage daughter in Enterprise, Alabama. You can send it to the Strunk Family in care of the College Avenue Church of Christ P.O. Box 311740 Enterprise, AL 36330. Minister Keith Ellis says that the elders have set up two funds one specific to the Strunk family. There is also one family in the congregation who lost their home. Another fund is established to meet the needs of Christians and the community.

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law are here visiting this weekend. We always enjoy having them down on the Coast!

Sunday is a “first Sunday” of the month, so that means we will have a fellowship meal after worship and class. If you’re in the area, come on by!

Dave Burchett asks, “Does the Jesus Family Tomb Rock My Faith?”

Is God’s Will Provisional?

Amy’s Excellent Thoughts on Meditative Reading.

Angie’s Observing Lent.

Wandering Sheep is the title of Bill’s post that gives us insight into God’s love.

Bobby’s got two posts on Text & Context in Bible Study.

Brian Honors His Shepherds.

Danny Mercer takes on racial reconciliation.

Blog Prophet on Commercials! Have a laugh!

Danny Sims on Time Alone.

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