Moving Away from Faithless, Self-Centered Prayers: Towards the ‘True Disciple’s Prayer’

“My Father, hallowed be my name, my kingdom come, my will be done, hopefully also in heaven as it is on earth. Give me today and everyday what I am entitled to. Help my debtors repay me their debts as I have repaid You my debts (if any). Lead me into your tests for I am ready and strong to face them and prove to you how strong and faithful I am, and, should You see the need, deliver me from evil, but I am ok.”

-an opposite version of the Lord’s Prayer

We might not bluntly pray this way, but we might have prayed or heard prayers, along this line of self-centered attitude. We see it in the Pharisee’s prayer in Luke 18:10. Prayers, if not careful, can become predominantly about what God should do for us. They can become full of commands like, ‘bless me, oh Lord…, give me…, take away…, open doors…, fix for me…,” and so on. Other prayers (and I’m sure you have heard them) are about telling others (those who are listening) what to do. Perhaps more often than not, prayers have become merely wishful thoughts on behalf of others.

One pastor told me recently that prayer is about ‘bringing God into the mission that we are doing.’ Hmm!? I can understand the beautiful intention of allowing God into our world, but isn’t prayer exactly the opposite? Isn’t it about us joining God’s mission and aligning ourselves with what He is doing?

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