“Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays“ Soren Kierkesgaard
What do you pray for in your life?
If you were anything like me as a kid, you prayed for your favorite toys and electronic gadgets to show up on Christmas, acing your exams, winning the soccer match and longing for your favorite pizza to manifest for dinner.
Later in life, you might have prayed for admission into the college of your dreams, professional success, marital harmony, healthy children, and lots of moolah $$
What you pray for.
Often in life, we pray to God for material possessions (a new Iphone, pay raises or your own tropical island), personal favors (like the Giants winning the World Series or the cop letting you go without ticketing your) and for a stroke or luck (winning the lottery or your stock broker actually being right for once 🙂
Nothing wrong with praying for favors.
In fact, God is there for your favors. If you live by God’s laws and obey His command, you’re going to reap the rewards of His favor.
But sometimes, life puts us through trials and tribulations. We don’t always get what we want. The house, the man of our dreams, the job or the financial security we desired may not materialize.
We then blame God. And wonder why he has forsaken us.
You can pray for favor but consider praying for the prayers that can transform you.
The prayers than can transform your life.
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” Psalm 100
Pray for thanksgiving.
You have more in your life than you can imagine. And more to be thankful for than what you desire in your life. Instead of wanting, why not be appreciative for the blessings you do have?
Why pray for the promotion when you can be thankful for the job? Why pray for a bigger house when you can be grateful for the one you’re already living in?
Instead of asking in prayer, be grateful in prayer.
Pray for strength.
We tend to ask God to help us solve situations, fix circumstances and change the calamities in our lives. When you’re down and scuffling with life, you ask God why He’s testing you? You wish God can abracadabra the situation and change it.
What if instead of asking for a change of circumstance, you pray for strength to deal with whatever tribulations come your way? It doesn’t matter how horrific, heart-breaking or soul-crushing, why don’t we ask God to give us the mental and emotional power to tackle the pains and hurts we confront?
Give us the ability to reach out to the get the help we need, to find the scriptures that soothe us, to have the power to bear life’s challenges.
Pray for humility.
Ever asked God for fame and recognition in the eyes of friends and family? Ever asked for attention and recognition?
Why not ask for humility instead. Humble with the gifts that God has given us. Humble for the special qualities we have. Humble for the many blessings we have in our lives.
When we’re walking around with our head held high and our egos on the loose, ask God to put our lives in perspective for us. Help us tame our ego. Help us think about others and not ourselves.
Pray for others.
We tend to focus on ourselves in prayer. ‘Oh, God help me win this game. Help me write this book. Help me find peace. Help me land the job.’
We are us-focused. Why not pray for the problems and challenges our family, friends, colleagues and neighbors face?
Ask God to help them, guide them, lead them and lead them. Let’s turn our focus from us to others. Let’s ask God to give strength to those who need it. Those grieving, those hurting, those who have lost everything.
Pray for hope.
Your situation may be unimaginable and dark. Ask God to fill with you hope. To remind you and take you towards the flicker of light at top of the summit. Similar to praying for strength, finding the inner abilty to always be more positive. To seek a better tomorrow. To be able to deal with what comes our way knowing it will get better.
Pray for self-awareness and understanding.
We often think we’re in the right and everyone else is in the wrong. We think we are the ones who have it figured out. What’s wrong with everyone else? Why does it seem like everyone else has lost their mind? Why is the problem so challenging?
Why don’t your parents, husband, clients or children understand you?
Seek understanding. That you may not know everything about yourself but seek the inner knowledge to know more about yourself. That your thoughts become clearer. Your intuition becomes stronger. Your awareness of your behavior, perspective and actions makes more sense to you.
You can step back and be more mindful of yourself. This may take prayer to achieve. It may take meditation.
Pray for compassion.
Pray that you’re able to empathize for yourself and others. Be able to take it easy on yourself. Pray that you don’t view yourself as a failure and you can accept yourself for the person you are. And that you can extend that same compassion for others. You can feel, understand and put yourself in the shoes of others.
That you’ll be able to share in their grief and problems.
Pray for patience.
Why do you demand everything happen immediately in your life? When it comes to the plane taking off on time or in God responding your prayers?
Why can’t you wait for five minutes or 5 years. Pray that you’ll have the patience to not know when, how long, how far or how often and that you’ll be ok with that.
Pray for forgiveness.
Forgiving those that have wronged you is hard. Although the wrongs may be petty, the monstrous ego gets in the way and tells us that we are right, we’ve done no wrong and that we deserve the apology.
Pray that you can forgive. Pray that others may not know what they’re doing sometimes. That others may be lost, confused, mistaken, unaware, and hurt your unintentionally.
Pray for wisdom.
Pray that you will be wiser with every passing day. That you’ll understand the world better today. Understand yourself better. Understand God better. Understand the truths of the world better. You will learn the lessons that God has been trying to teach you your entire life.
Friends, if you’re going to pray, don’t put God in a tough spot. Don’t demand your stock portfolio double or your damaged car won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Don’t pray for quick-fixes and Godfather-like-favors.
Pray for what really matters. Pray for the qualities that can transform your life.
Photo credit: Modenadude
To pick up my book, Is God Listening, about surviving life’s difficult times, click here.