How would you rate your prayer life on a scale of 1-10? If we are honest, most of us won’t rank ourselves very high. I know I wouldn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I talk to Jesus all day long. But when it comes time for formal “prayer,” I choke. I would rate myself a 9 on chatting with Jesus and a 3 on official prayer. And that’s if I’m being generous.
When I was a new Believer, I thought I was good at prayer. But I realize now I talked to our Heavenly Father like I was a used car salesman giving a sales pitch to someone I didn’t think was all that interested in buying. I would tell Him people’s full names and their concerning conditions, and then I’d advise the Father what He needed to do and why they deserved to receive a blessing. If worrying in the presence of God counted as prayer, I was great at it!
The more I have learned from the Bible, the more I have realized that most of my prayers have been wasted asking God for things we already have. For example, I spent a lot of time asking God for His presence and peace. I now realize those are things He has promised we will always have because He lives inside us. I can’t escape from His presence, and all I need to do to access His peace is give Him my trust, focus, and attention. I also used to ask Him to speak to me, but I spent almost no time listening. Now I listen more and speak less.
The recorded prayers in the New Testament don’t reflect what we generally pray about today. Jesus told us to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. I find that interesting since most believers are praying for Jesus to get them out of here quickly before the planet gets any crazier. That has me thinking that maybe we aren’t praying what God wants us to pray.
That thought has made me much more mindful of my formal prayer life. It’s why I now score myself low on the prayer scale because I’m still learning all this. I want to pray as Jesus told me to pray, “on earth as it is in Heaven.” There is no disease in Heaven, so God doesn’t want it here. There is no war, famine, hatred, mass shootings, mental illness, broken families, or poverty in Heaven. So, I pray God’s will be done in all these areas, knowing that God’s will is to give our broken planet a divine makeover.
Jesus told us that when we abide in Him and His word abides in us, we can ask the Father for anything, and “it will be given.” In Greek, “given” can better be translated as “it will come to pass.” Maybe not today, maybe not even in our lifetime, but when we abide in Jesus and pray for the Father’s will (on earth as it is in Heaven), it will come to pass.
Here’s what I’ve learned about God, He doesn’t need my advice, and He doesn’t need me to sell Him on the idea of blessing someone. He loves us way more than words can convey, and His heart’s desire is to lavish love on His creation. What He wants from you and from me is for us to bless and love others. To release His blessing over others. Not to judge, conspire against, or complain about. God even loves Putin, so remember that next time you want to pray down fireballs from Heaven to smite someone.