Last weekend in worship, as a part of the sermon, I spoke about the power of good questions, and how they can draw us deeper into our relationship with God. I asked people that were at worship that morning to write down their good questions, for two reasons:
- It would help me get to know the congregation better
- It would give me an opportunity to try and to address some of the questions here in this blog. Not that I’ll have lots of answers…but at least to offer some thoughts and ideas and perhaps even open up a conversation.
So here’s the first one I’m going to tackle:
No, it’s not. Not at all. As a matter of fact, this is exactly the kind of prayer that God asks for.
I think we often lose track of what prayer is. Prayer is not creating a “to-do list” for God. Nor is it like some kind of vending machine where we “put a prayer in” and out pops what we want. It’s also not a place for us to bring our complaints about others, or to ask God to change others to be more like we’d want them to be. Yes, I’ve prayed all of these kind of prayers, we probably all have in some way. I think we pray these prayers because we misunderstand, or forget what prayer is.
Prayer is not an activity as much as it is an attitude. And it is not an obligation as much as it is a lifestyle. When you are in a relationship with someone, what do you do? You communicate. You talk, you laugh, you reach out to them. And if communication stops, the relationship begins to wither.
God wants to be in relationship with God’s people. And God wants us to communicate. About everything! To talk, to laugh, to reach out to God: about our day at work or at school…about our parents and our kids…about what’s on our mind…about what we’re worried about…about what brings us joy… Prayer is how we express our relationship with God.
The issue isn’t so much what we pray, as why we pray it. Are you concerned about your or someone else’s health? Pray that! God wants to hear it. Ask for healing. Because that’s really what’s on your heart and mind, and that’s what God wants to hear. Our God knows all, so it’s not like being in bad health will be a surprise. But the act of praying, of confessing our anxieties will deepen our relationship with God, and knowing that God hears and is with us in it can relieve our stress and anxiety. Prayer brings comfort. And sometimes, yes it will bring healing too. Because God works in ways we don’t begin to understand.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
We pray and give thanks in all circumstances, at all times, and for all reasons. And God listens. So yes, pray for healing, and for whatever else is on your mind and heart.
What do you think? Please add our comments below. Thanks!