Prayer for me wasn't communing with God. It was boring, hard, and flat. I wondered what I was missing... was I the only one who didn't get how to pray? And if God is God and knows everything, why should I even bother?
- I'm practical
- hands on
- add a bullet point list and you've got me kind of girl.
So I've searched Amazon, used bookstores, friends' book shelves, and compiled recommendations and want to share all the exciting things I've been learning. Today I want to focus on a book by Joni Earckson Tada called A Quiet Place in a Crazy World. And we're going to practice one of her techniques:
FIVE GOOD REASONS
My oldest son (18 years old, the age of invincibility) headed out on an 10 day road trip with three of his friends. They are visiting 4+ states and the whole trip was planned by them. Of course I'm thinking traffic accidents, dehydration in the desert, death by dismemberment in the Grand Canyon, and Parkour injuries inspired by dubstep playlists and epic stunts. So naturally, my prayers are pleading with God to protect them despite themselves, to provide safety, not let them get seriously injured or arrested or the like.
Then I put this prayer in light of Joni's "5 good reasons" list...
realized that 98% of my reasons for praying this way were because of fear and my own selfishness.
I don't want them to be hurt, because it will hurt me. I don't want them to do x, y, z, because danger...you get the picture.
Then I remembered Francis Chan speaking to this same issue in his book Crazy Love:
"Now, I'm not saying it is wrong to pray for God's protection, but I am questioning neglect of whatever God's best is, whatever would bring God the most glory, or whatever would accomplish His purposes in our lives and in the world... Would you be willing to pray this prayer? God, bring me closer to You during this trip, whatever it takes..."
Now, the Good Example:
In Joni's example, her prayer was for her neighbor with disabilities and I love how she prayed through truth she knew about God in her 5 good reasons.
Reason #1: Lord, you were compassionate toward disabled people when You walked on earth and You met their needs. Please meet the needs of my friend that way.
She was pointing out Jesus' actions and character and applying them to her request.
Reason #2: Lord, You promised to feed the ravens and clothe the flowers of the field. My disabled neighbor has basic needs like that, and You care much more for her than You do for the birds and flowers.
Here Joni points out and prays through His promises.
Reason #3: Lord, my neighbor is in need of seeing and feeling Your personal care. A helper could be Your "hands" to her.
Here, she is pointing out God's blessing that He bestows on others in serving and how that can bring Him glory.
Reason #4: Lord, You cared about "the least of them," and my disabled neighbor certainly qualifies under that category! Please meet her need as an evidence of Your concern for the least of them.
She points out more of God's character based on how he gave grace, mercy, and love to others while here on earth.
Reason #5: Lord, the rest of my neighbors will be inspired and encouraged to help, and they may even "know we are Christians by our love for one another."
She's praying that we can behave in a loving and caring manner to encourage others and glorify God in our witness.
Now it's your turn.
Get out a piece of paper or your prayer notebook and think through five good reasons (consistent with truths you know about God) and write them out then pray through them.
See if by carefully ordering your request like this, it helps you drill down to the deeper, most important issues.
See if it helps you learn more about God as you focus on His promises, His character, and His kingdom.
Try it and see if it releases fear...
Share your insights below so others can also be encouraged and we can learn from each other!