Prayer for lazy guys

This week, I’m going to talk about prayer. Something I’ve always believed was important but rarely do.

I’ve always thought prayer was boring. And I’ve often felt guilty for not doing it more.

If God’s already got everything worked out, why bother praying?

Sure, there are theological explanations, but I’ve never found them motivating.

Recently, though, I watched a lecture on prayer with my wife that really made everything click for us. It brought about that aha! epiphany kind of moment.

The presentation is 37 minutes. The speaker is Martin Zender. He describes himself as “the world’s most outspoken Bible scholar.” I don’t think he’s a pastor or anything. Just a guy who loves to study and teach the Word. Kind of like me 🙂

I recommend watching the full video when you have the time. But here’s some of my own thoughts to give you some context…

I’ve been into personal development for a good 7 years now. I’ve got to say that the hardest part about personal development is figuring out what you want.

What’s my passion? What’s my mission? How do I get motivated?

I remember one book I read, after explaining the necessity of goals, said that whatever goal you set is probably not what you actually want. Once you arrive at the goal, you realize you didn’t want it and you just gotta find something new to pursue.

So you need a goal, but you’ll never know what you truly want.

This may be an accurate description of how most people live their life, but I always found that attitude to be unsatisfying.

Thankfully (as I learned), prayer solves this important problem.

There’s a frequently misunderstood passage found in Psalm 37:

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Some Christians take this to be some kind of quid pro quo sort of thing where you give God what he wants and he gives you what you want.

But we know empirically that this is not true. We’ve all prayed for things that didn’t happen… even when we did all the things that were supposed to “delight the Lord.”

Furthermore, it compounds the problem that we don’t know what we want. Imagine how disastrous our lives would be if God gave us whatever we wanted! We can’t even predict what will keep us happy in a year, let alone an entire lifetime.

Some conservative Christians respond this nonsense by saying, “Of course God’s not going to give you what you want. Your heart is full of sin. God’s not going to give you sinful things.”

But both sides get it wrong.

Read the passage again:

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

When you “take delight in the LORD”… when you pursue the truth found in the Scriptures, He will give you the desire.

He will give you the vision & the mission.

This is the power of prayer:

When you search the Scriptures, you are discovering God’s plan for humanity. And you have a role to play in that plan.

So when you meditate on God’s general plan, you’re going to get specific desires relevant to your life and circumstances.

That’s from God. God put those desires in your heart.

Once you recognize God’s plan and the desire He put in your heart, pray that it will happen. This will give you the confidence to execute your vision, which God prepared in advance for you to do anyway (Ephesians 2:10).

Prayer is about finding courage and strengthening your faith. This is why the Bible never teaches that prayer causes things to happen. Prayer allows us to unload our anxieties and find the strength to carry on with our mission:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to GodAnd the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Anyhow, check out the video this weekend. Well worth watching.

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