My friend and good brother, Darin Shaw, made a very profound statement the other day at our pastor’s fellowship. He recounted it at his blog, Interactive Sermons:
Today…at the pastor’s prayer meeting, I don’t know if I heard one actual question as we prayed. If there were a transcript of our prayer time, it’s likely not one question mark would be found. It was all statements like those above, telling God we ask and or prescribing to God what he should do.
I encourage you to head over to Darin’s blog and read the rest of his post – it really is worth it. I have been mauling over this fact (and it is a fact) that we often phrase our prayers as a list of demands rather than as a journey of questions.
Why do we say, “Lord, heal him” instead of “Lord, would you heal him?” In a very real way, our style of prayer still vibrates with the Gregorian scales of sacrament. We believe that we receive grace through our act of prayer, which is entirely an act of our will, rather than through God’s listening and response, which is entirely His will.
Right now, our congregation is facing all kinds of challenges – families falling apart, illnesses destroying people we are close to, people (outside of our congregation) condemning our activities. How do we respond to this? We should be praying with our entire reliance on our Father.
O God, we believe you have set us on the path we are walking together.
Would you unify us? Will you open our hearts to your desires and direction? Lord, we ask that you help us to be agents of your grace and mercy.
Please, Lord, would you fill us with your passion? We do not ask for ourselves, but for your ministry. Will you help us to walk with you?
Thank you, Father. In Jesus’ name.