Commenting on Prayer
Daily Advance – Weekly Column
By D. Clay Perkins, Ph.D.
President – Mid-Atlantic Christian University
I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
Ephesians 1:16 (NIV)
For this reason I kneel before the father.
Ephesians 3:14 (NIV)
… that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:19b (NIV)
What do you pray for? If you are like most of us, your prayer list consists of those who are sick, those who need a job, those who are in some current struggle, etc. These are good things to pray for, but are they the best things to pray for? Now, do not misunderstand – if I am sick, please pray for me. If I need a job, I need your prayers. However, such needs are but temporary.
I am increasingly convinced that the church today does not know how to pray properly. Prayer is not our getting something out of God. Prayer is God’s getting something out of us. He desires our love, our trust, our total dependence on Him. We need only to look at the prayers in the Bible and model our own prayers after them.
This is a very dangerous concept. If you really begin to model your prayers after those found in the pages of God’s word, your life, and the life of your church, might change forever.
For example, look at the prayer found in Ephesians 1:15-23. The prayer spoken was “so that you may know Him better” (Ephesians 1:17b). I wonder, what would happen if when we pray for someone to feel better or to get a better job, we also pray for that person to know God better. As Socrates is attributed with saying, “The unexamined life is the life not worth living.” How true! But even more important, the unexamined faith is a faith not worth having. It is the obligation of man to know God better. It is the obligation of man to seek to God.
The prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 was for us to know the fullness of God, to know just how much God loves us! Do you remember singing, “Deep and wide, deep and wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide?” Just imagine, what if you prayed for your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to know how much they are loved by God, to “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (v. 18).
Now most, if not all of us, pray. This is, after all, Eastern North Carolina. The question is, do we pray for things that are temporary or for things that are eternal? Are we wise with our prayers? Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable; wisdom is knowing a tomato does not belong in a fruit salad.
Let’s know not only how to pray; let’s be wise in what we pray for. Let’s pray for the eternal as well as the temporary. Remember, prayer is not our getting something out of God. Prayer is God’s getting something out of us – a totally dependent child.
This article first appeared in The Daily Advance and The Daily Advance owns the copyright for this article. Contact Publisher Michael Goodman at firstname.lastname@example.org for permission to reprint.