Thursday, September 13, 2007

What are You Praying About?

One of the things that I get frustrated with is prayer. I get frustrated with my prayers and I get frustrated with other people’s prayers because they seem so superficial. Superficial may not be the right word, so let me explain what I mean. By superficial I mean that we seem to focus on what we can see and what we can touch so we pray for physical health, finances, safety, and numerous other blessings. Yet it seems that we neglect to pray for the truly important, those things that we can’t see, but are so important for our lives.

Here is an example:
9 For this reason we also, from the day we heard about you, have not ceased praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may live worthily of the Lord and please him in all respects - bearing fruit in every good deed, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for the display of all patience and steadfastness, joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the saints' inheritance in the light. 13 He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:9-14; NET)

Examine what Paul has being praying with regards to the Christ Followers at Colosse. He prays that they will be filled with spiritual wisdom and understanding so they can live lives worthy of their calling. Paul prays that they will be strengthened by God’s power so they can demonstrate God’s character in their patience and steadfastness. And Paul prays that they will give thanks to God because they recognize that He has delivered them from darkness. Imagine praying this prayer during your prayer time at Church. Wouldn’t people wonder why you aren’t praying for the healing aunt so and so’s cancer?

It seems to me that we act all too often as if there isn’t a spiritual aspect to our lives. What we are concerned about are the things that we can see and touch, rather than the essential part of our lives, the part that cannot be seen. So when people struggle we pray that the physical symptoms of that struggle be removed, rather than praying that they will deal with the spiritual root of the problem. People remain immature in their faith, so we pray that they will get more committed rather than praying that they will be filled with spiritual wisdom.

I want to encourage us to examine our prayer times and evaluate what we are praying about and why. Why do we focus on the physical aspects of our lives rather than the spiritual?

I know that in my own life that I have always been skeptical about the spiritual. To be quite honest this spiritual stuff seems so unreal. In our modern era the spiritual is relegated to myth and not to be believed. Not only that, but I have learned to equate spiritual with emotional and I have been taught that we can’t trust our emotions. Because of this I have always been more comfortable to stick to more superficial prayers.

Could it be then that for us to move from a prayer life that is blah to one that is dynamic is changing what we pray about? Instead of focusing on the physical symptoms our lives that we start praying about the spiritual roots of our lives. Prayer is an important part of our lives and now is time for us to starting using it more effectively.

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