Prayer is a widely discussed topic among Christians. You can easily find a book on prayer in a bookstore or online. Almost every pastor who is well-known for writing has written a book on the subject. I am not posting this to tell you how to pray, but I do want to share with you how my prayer journey has changed.
I hate to admit that over my 3-decade Christian life that I have prayed in such a way as to ask God to bless my man made plans. These prayers would go something like this – “God, I have this awesome sermon I’m going to preach on Sunday. I pray that you will bless my delivery of this message and that people’s lives would be changed.” Sounds okay, right? In the preceding prayers, I rarely asked God what I should preach. So many times, I planned church events and never consulted God first to ask Him to lay out the church calendar and show me how He wants me to execute ministry. Needless to say, I had to repent of that.
Prayers today look and sound a lot different. As I prepare music for our church’s 9:00 service, I ask God which songs He wants for the service. I ask Him to reveal His vision and how to execute it. When I counsel pastors, I ask God beforehand what questions I need to be asking, what advice I need to be giving, etc. They don’t need my prepackaged experience from previous ministries. I’m not saying that God didn’t do some good things then, but people need a NOW word from God that aligns with Scripture.
You are faced with daily decisions – job offers, who to marry, where to go to school, parenting/marital situations, and the list goes on. God doesn’t want you coming to Him saying, “God, I’m going to move my family to this place because this job offers more money. So I ask that you would bless us, keep us safe, and give us a smooth transition.” That’s okay if you’ve already gotten direction from Him to actually move, but it’s not good if you assumed God was in it simply because the money is better.
We desperately need God’s leadership. Prayer is an ongoing conversation by which we receive that leadership. This post is by no means exhaustive on the subject of prayer. Prayer includes praise, confession, intercession, and so many more things. My prayers still include those things. But, I want to hear from God now more than ever about His will for my life and for everything touching my life. For that reason, I’m glad I pray differently.