Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
As you know, I often close my Weekly Update letter with the reminder that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith. It is through prayer – both individually and corporately – that we go forward, together.
There are many ways to pray of course, but not many of them are in tune with what Christian prayer is all about. There is an old saying that goes, “Moses supposes his toeses are roses, but Moses supposes amiss.” Just the fact that we believe something or have always done something in a certain way, does not make that thing true or right. Many prayers are focused on people’s selfish wants and desires, not on the things God has shown us are important. How many people pray for the fruit of the Spirit, for example. How many people pray for the welfare and blessing of their enemies? How many prayers are focused primarily on giving thanks? On the other hand, how many prayers are focused on winning a game, winning a lottery prize, getting the car or house we have our eye on, or on getting someone else to do or see things our way? The Bible says, ”When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3).
The kinds of prayers that Christians pray have to do with Jesus command that we love one another (John 13:34-35). We pray for not merely for things, but for one another, because the primary thing Jesus has given us to do as his disciples is to care about, build up, encourage, strengthen, forgive, serve, and in any other way we can, to love one another.
That is why our prayers are focused on seeking God’s will, because God’s will is that we love one another. Through prayer, we listen to God as well as talk with God. In prayer our hearts and minds are intertwined with his, allowing us to discern more clearly his will and purpose. A good way to pray is to pray through a passage, listening to what God may have to say to us through the passage and talking to him about it.
In Jesus’s love,