I pray for me a lot. I don’t mean I pray for my stuff, I mean I pray for my heart. Here’s the deal, there are things I’d like to have – important things – and I pray about those. We’d like to sell our house…it’s on the market. I pray about that. We’d like to get rid of our second car; I pray about that.
In fact, I’ve discovered though, that if I’m not careful, my prayers can kind of become my to-do list for God. “Here are the things I’d like to see happen, God,” or “Here are the things I’d like to have…and would you please take care of these for me. Amen.”
But a Friend of mine taught me that there’s a better way. In fact, He said, “When you pray, pray like this…” He didn’t say I had to use those very words…He wasn’t dictating… but He was quite clear concerning what I should be praying about. It’s more like a model or a template.
“Our Father who art in heaven…” and I discover that the first third of the prayer is about Him, not me. In fact, I also discover that the last third of that same prayer is also about Him… “For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory…” Hmm, that part’s not about me, either.
Between the worshipful beginning and the magnificent conclusion is that brief segment where I mention my needs. Daily bread is first. Pretty basic. Not a lot of mention about cake. Or frosting. But the next two lines, also requests, are about spiritual issues – (1) forgiveness and (2) victory. I think He didn’t intend this to be a formula, but maybe He did want to make sure my petitions were big enough, were of eternal consequence. In synch with His.
Now it’s clear that He wants us to bring our cares to Him because He cares for us. He repeats that often enough in the Scripture narrative that we can’t miss it. But I can’t get away from the fact that He told us, When you pray, pray like this.
God knows about my house. In His way and in His good time He’ll take care of that. But the issue of greatest concern to Him – and to me – is my heart. So I’ve learned that my prayers need to center around His will, around what He is desiring to do in me. See, He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own. I need to know that. I need to be shaped by that. Can I suggest a variation of another song you know, “Jesus knows me, this I love…” That reality gives focus to everything I do; including my prayer life.
Oh, about the house… He’s building me a new one, anyway.
By Don Jacobsen