My title is a little misleading. Let me explain. One thing I’ve continued to think about with prayer is that sometimes prayer is not answered (at least in the way we want) because it is not in alignment with God. So, how do we get what we want? We have to align ourselves with God. So as this has been a topic in my mind recently, I happened to read in my morning devotional about this very topic!
Just a warning, I’m going to be sharing some quotes from my reading, but they might not come off across as gentle. Yet, they were really eye-opening to me. The book I’ve been going through every morning is called “21 Days of Breakthrough Prayer” by Jim Maxim.
Here are a few things to keep in mind about being in alignment with God through prayer:
1) Our prayer is often infiltrated by popular culture
“In today’s culture, permanently infected with materialism and a consumer mind-set, it is sometimes difficult for Christians to ask for things from God without a fundamentally selfish reason or a chronic aversion to suffering in any form.”
Furthermore, Dr. D.A Carson said that if “80 or 90 percent of our petitions ask God for good health, recovery from illness, safety on the road, a good job, success in exams, the emotional needs of our children, success in our mortgage application,” then it’s a testimony to the “processes of paganization in our life and thought.”
Ouch. I know, I’m not being too gentle in this post. My purpose is not to shame anyone. Honestly, I’m sharing because I love when people hold me accountable. In sports I used to schedule my own meetings with coaches so I knew how to improve. So, I’m bringing you into this process. We can get this wake-up call together. We can learn if our prayers are a product of the culture we live in or if they are really focusing on God and God's purpose in our lives.
2) We prayer “surface-level” prayers
“I am learning that my deepest needs are met when my heart is most closely aligned with the Word of God, the Son of God, the Spirit of God, and the purposes of God.”
“Asking is the doorway, not just to getting our next lunch or luxury item, but also to discovering the profound joy of a transformed life in Christ.”
When we take a look at the content of our prayer, we can see if we are praying for “surfacy” things or deeper, heart needs. The heart is made for connection. God cares about the “little” things and the needs I’ve been mentioning thus far, but I think we might be missing some of the fullness of what prayer can offer.
3) We can use Jesus & Paul’s prayers as models
“We find He (Jesus) often withdrew from activity to enjoy private communion with the Father. While we do not know the substance of His prayers in these times, it appears they were directly related to fresh empowerment for His selfless, sacrificial service.”
Wow, this one really spoke to me. I don’t know about you, but I often pray for less conflict in my life or helping me deal with difficult people. But I am forgetting that a core purpose of my prayer is for me to be a part of God’s mission. Not just for God to make my life easy.
I don’t know about you, but I really appreciated this reminder. We are here to love one another. We are here for a bigger purpose. Sometimes we lose sight of how purposeful our lives are. Yet it's when we get reminders that we can re-align with what God is already doing in and through us. Happy rooting, everyone!