I’d wager that most Christians pray a lot. I’d also be willing to bet that a large majority of our prayers are self-serving requests rather than being filled with thankfulness or praise. Many never pray until they are in some sort of a jam and in desperate need of being bailed out. There is a time to call on the name of the Lord to rescue you. There are definitely appropriate times to ask Him for strength, wisdom, and courage. Even more important are the prayers that thank Him for His love and blessings, prayers that praise Him for His holiness and overall awesomeness! We should daily be cultivating a strong relationship with Him in prayer, learning more about Who He is and what part He has equipped us to play in His mission. Yet most of our prayers are selfish, shallow, and quite probably worthless.
In a recent message, Pastor Craig Groeschel asked a brilliant question: “If God had answered all of your prayers last week, how would the world be different?” His point was that most of us pray small and selfish prayers so that even if they were all to be answered the way we wanted them to be, the world would hardly notice. Our lives might be a little better, but the rest of the planet would go on as usual. From my own experience and observation, I sadly have to agree with him. Take a look back over the past week and see how many prayers you prayed that would, if answered in the way you desired, have had a kingdom impact on the world.
For the next twenty-one days, Living Water International is inviting believers worldwide to pray with them for water. Over half of the hospital beds in the world are filled with patients who are there because of a lack of water or due to a waterborne disease. Water opens the door to sharing the Gospel. When you’ve provided the means to restore health to the children of a family in the name of Jesus, they are often eager to learn more about who this Jesus is. While water is something most of us in the West take for granted, it is a scarce commodity for nearly a billion people on our planet.
In the passage of 1 Timothy 2:1-4, we find instruction regarding the ways in which we should all be praying. Many times we get into the habit of our prayers being self-oriented and we neglect many of the people and circumstances for which we should be praying. A vibrant and consistent prayer life is a key to understanding the character and principles of God, so it’s worth pausing to consider all the ways we have been instructed to pray.