The Bible echoes for us the importance of prayer. Prayer is not just a simple ritual we keep for the sake of Christian tradition. It is a powerful means by which we speak and communicate with our God and lift up to Him our thanksgiving, praises and burdens. And as important as prayer is, there are just some things that we should stop praying for.
There’s a very powerful reason Jesus said in Matthew 6:9: “Pray then like this…” He knew that there were means and ways to prayer that needed to be retired and new ways to start walking in more and more. In the same way there are etiquettes when it comes to conversing with people, there’s no reason to believe God doesn’t expect us to observe certain parameters.
And I know sometimes we’d like to think, “But God wants to come freely as you are in prayer. It doesn’t have to be formatted.”
And yes I agree that prayer is now free and available to all through Christ and that there shouldn’t be a format to it.
However, because Jesus gave us His best, I believe we are to also come with our best as we prepare our hearts and words to speak to Him in prayer.
The following are not the best ways to pray and should most likely even be retired as soon as possible.
The ‘My Will Be Done’ Prayer
It’s no accident that Jesus first taught us to pray to praise the Father’s name and ask that “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)
There’s no will better than God’s will, but we don’t always pray with that kind of attitude.
We ask for our will in our jobs, relationships, ministries and even finances hoping to let things happen our way. But God’s way is always best and we must ask for His plans before we draw out ours.
The ‘Deal With Them’ Prayer
When facing relational dysfunction—may it be in marriage, parenting, friendships or work relationships—we often ask God to “deal with their hearts.” While God can and will probably deal with others, our prayers should instead be “God, deal with me.”
The attitudes of others are something we have no control over, but ours is something we have complete agency over.
The ‘Bless Me More’ Prayer
Too many times we might ask God for more money, gadgets, possessions and promotion overriding both His future plans and His current provision. God wants us to come ask in confidence for provision, favour and blessing, but not out of a greed-filled and discontented heart. 1 Timothy 6:6 reminds us, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
The Licentious ‘Forgive Me for This’ Prayer
Now, there’s nothing wrong with asking for forgiveness and we will always need God’s forgiveness. But as you pray for forgiveness, are you thinking, “I should clean up so I can keep doing this sin more?”
Forgiveness is important, but repentance will and should always come hand in hand with it.