How do you pray? Do you really believe what you pray for?
Do you believe in the power of prayer? Or are you just going through the motions, with an expectation that God will be silent and absent? If that is the case, why both to pray at all?
Let’s be careful here though. Prayer isn’t like ordering something on Amazon – make your request and you get it like Amazon Prime. In many ways, prayer is the exact opposite. It’s often not about getting what we want at all. Prayer is more often than not something that is designed to align us with God’s will.
There’s a parable that Jesus told about a persistent widow that I think fits in this discussion.
Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.” For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.” ’ And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’
(Luke 18:1-8, NRSV)
What would happen if we prayed like the widow did with the judge? What if we were bold when we prayed.
What if we boldly asked for justice – to end human trafficking, prostitution, homelessness, drug addition, domestic violence, war, etc.?
Do we really believe that these things would end? These are selfish prayers – prayers of “give me more stuff God.” These are prayers that are really about bringing about the kingdom of God.
Do we really believe what we are praying for or are we just being nice and mouthing the words fully expecting nothing to change?
Do we dare summon God into our midst? Do we dare poke at God and remind God that God is a God of faithfulness? There are several Psalms that do just that – why should we be any different? Read Psalm 44 or Psalm 10 – these Psalms do not hold back. They get in God’s face, much like the persistent widow in Luke.
Do we dare poke God and ask if God really is who God says God is?
Do we pray with imperatives – demands?
Psalm 88 is another prayer that gets in God’s face.
How do we pray? And more importantly – why?
Jesus said: “will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?”
Cry out to God day and night with your plea. And be open to how God answers.