Too often, our prayer lives look eerily one-note. I’m guilty here. There seems to be the big three in all of our prayers: “Thanks God,” “Bless our food, God,” and “Heal so-and-so, God.” Now none of these, in themselves, are bad things to pray. In fact, they’re all good things to pray. However, we need to be going a whole lot deeper than that. What if we all connected our prayer lives to the mission of our church? What if we prayed like Christ? Like Paul?
Pray the mission of your church
If the mission of your church is to only heal the sick, then please continue to pray for that most of all. However, it’s probably not. If that’s your church’s mission, you’ve probably ceased being a church and become more of, you know…a hospital. There is a bigger sickness around. The sickness of sin and of separation from God in your community and in the world is more important. If the church is more concerned about physical sickness inside the walls than spiritual sickness outside, it’s not a church.
Pray for others…really
I’m not just talking about praying for your friend’s job or their mom’s health. Again, those are good things to pray for. However, they’re not the most important. Take a look at some of Paul’s prayers. Here was a man who had his priorities straight. He knew the number one thing people needed, and he prayed that for them. Take a look at Ephesians 3:14-21. That’s some serious stuff. He’s not praying for surface things. He’s praying the number one thing. He is praying that they will actually, fully understand God’s love. From that understanding, he knows they will have all they need.
Pray God’s will…really
And here, I’m not just saying to conclude your prayers with “Your will be done.” That’s way too easy. Really meaning it is something completely different. Want to know God’s will? Crack open the Bible and find something that Christ commanded that is difficult for you. Then, turn it into a verb and put your name in front of it. That’s what I mean by praying God’s will. God’s will is that we do the things in Scripture. So, if we get an example from Ephesians 4:29, it goes a little something like this: “Chris, let everything you say be good and helpful.” Do I do that all the time? Nope. So praying God’s will can be asking God for help in living out the difficult parts of Scripture. It can also be an override of your will. Too often, we pray for God’s will, but deep down inside, we want our own. Being able to pray like Jesus in Luke 22:42 is so important. Jesus did not want to die. He didn’t want to suffer and be broken. However, he bent to the Father’s will. What does that look like in your life?