Prayer is Electricity

“The thing is though, if I start praying for Miss Skeeter, I know that conversation gone continue the next time I see her. And the next and the next. Cause that’s the way prayer do. It’s electricity, it keeps things going.” -Aibileen in Kathryn Stockett’s The Help

‘Take it to the Lord’

“The Psalms are not only the longest book of the Bible; they are also the most varied. All life, in all its variety and complexity, is represented here. Yet all this multiplicity can be brought under one heading: ‘take it to the Lord.’ You know how you can take a mirror and so angle it to the sun that sunlight can be re-directed into a dark corner— or wherever? The Psalms teach us to set our lives at an angle, making sure our lives are so ‘angled’ that everything is at once transmitted into the Lord’s presence, and put into the context of what is true about him.” -Alec Motyer, A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Loving the Old Testament

The Difference Between a Confident Request and a Demand

“Sometimes expectation is a sign of arrogance. There is a world of difference between a confident request and a demand. Both expect the same result, but the one who makes a request knows that the one of whom the request is made also has the legitimate right of refusal. Someone who makes a demand knows nothing of this.” -John Koessler

Ways to Pray

  • Sometimes we ask God to change our circumstances: heal the sick, give daily bread, protect from suffering and evil, make our leaders just, convert friends and family, make our work prosper, provide me with a spouse, quiet this storm, send rain, give us a child. 
  • Sometimes we ask God to change us: deepen my faith, teach us to love each other, forgive sins, make me wise, make us know you better, help me to sanctify you in my heart, don’t let me dishonor you, help us understand Scripture, teach me to encourage others. 
  • Sometimes we ask God to change everything by revealing himself more fully, magnifying his glory and rule. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, be exalted above the heavens, let your glory be over all of the earth, come Lord Jesus.

Mistakes in Prayer

“Visitors to many of our churches might be pardoned if they get the impression that God is chiefly interested in perking up our health, yet not very good at it! The prayer list in many churches is filled with chronic illnesses, though deep down we know that everyone will die sooner or later, usually from progressive ill health. Too often pastoral prayers, prayer meetings, and prayer lists dishearten and distract the faith of God’s people. Prayer becomes either a dreary litany of familiar words, or a magical superstition. It either dulls our expectations of God, or hypes up fantasy hopes. Prayers for the sick can even become a breeding ground for cynicism: wouldn’t these people have gotten better anyway as nature took its course or medicine succeeded? Prayer can also become a breeding ground for bizarre ideas and practices: a spiritualized version of our culture’s obsession with health and medicine; naming and claiming your healing; a superstitious belief that the quantity or fervency of prayer is decisive in getting God’s ear; the notion that prayer has its own “power”; questioning the faith of a person who doesn’t get better.” -David Powlison