Troublesome Topic: Are Most of Our Prayer Requests True Prayer?

If we are honest with ourselves, most of the things shared as prayer requests are actually favors we want from God. Too often a list of prayer requests is a list of everyone we know who is sick. Other times it is a list of problems we are having that we want God’s help with, be it medical, financial, relational or otherwise. Few of our prayer requests focus on the “big picture” of what God wants to do in the hearts of men. Most of our prayer requests focus on us.

We need to change the way we pray and seek a prayer life that puts God at the center instead of self.

Please do this mental exercise with me. Think of the top handful of politicians who, in your opinion, are causing the most damage to your country. Write down their names. Now think of the top handful of prominent people, be it actors and actresses, athletes or musicians, who are using their considerable influence to guide people deeper into sin. Write down their names. Now think of the prominent people in this world whom you consider to be downright evil. If you have not written their names already, write them on your list at this time. Add to your list people who were well-known Christian leaders but have fallen into sin or rejected their faith in Christ. One more group – write down the names of people you know personally and have contact with regularly that you don’t like, or you find it hard to get along with. Now look at your list and ask yourself, “Have I ever prayed for any of these people, of have I just complained about them?” Some Christians have prayed for bad people and people they don’t like, but many have never considered doing so. Yet this is what we should be doing! Asking God to draw them, to call them, to woo them to himself in powerful ways is true prayer. And when we pray for people regularly it changes how we think of them. We will begin to see them, not as bad people, but as people for whom Christ died. We will become perceptive of their spiritual and emotional needs. Prayer brings us in line with the mind of God because true prayer must agree with God’s expressed will.

The next lesson is: What about Prayer before Meals?