Dave is the EFCC’s Prayer and Spiritual Life Catalyst. His regular contributions are excerpted in the monthly Prayer Calendar.
Have you ever tried to explain something when you knew you didn’t know how to do it? Well, here goes! Prayer comes in all sizes and shapes. One isn’t better than the other. They all fit a certain moment with a compelling need.
Many times I find myself praying what I call “grocery list” prayers. I go grocery shopping with a list, either electronic on my phone or an old-fashioned piece of paper with items listed. I find the item and delete or scratch it from the list.
I’m more comfortable praying like that. I have a list of concrete, specific items or people to pray for, pray and tick them off the list having fulfilled my responsibility. However, I don’t find many examples of that kind of praying in the Bible, if any. Maybe they did some praying like that, but they don’t record it for us to see.
I think I default to such praying because it’s neat and clean, measurable and takes the least amount of time and effort. I hate to admit that, but there it is. I think there are times that God wants more than that. He wants us to pray below the surface where it’s messy.
He wants us to pray deep.
I’m preaching Sunday on Romans 10. Paul starts the chapter like this. “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.” He started off chapter 9 by saying that he had such a desire for his countrymen that he was willing to be cursed and separated from Christ for their sake. I wish I could have heard his prayer. It wasn’t an item on a grocery list. It was deep and messy.
To the church at Colossae, along with Timothy, he prayed, “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way.” That’s deep!
I’m trying to wean myself off of defaulting to “grocery list” praying. Of course there’s a need for such prayer but there’s also a need to go deeper. Why not join me!