Someone asked me about prayer the other day, making the common and necessary observation that we who pray forget that prayer is something more than asking for stuff.
Making such an observation tells me that this person has been reading all the right books. She is well informed of all the right cautions, cautions I’ve heard and tried to heed.
And yet, my prayer life is still heavily tilted toward asking for stuff. I can’t get away from that. And maybe I shouldn’t.
There is no question my prayer life, and perhaps yours, needs a greater measure of praise, of confession, of gratitude. But at the same time we have a God who tells us that to put our anxieties at ease, we need to let our requests be known. We have a God who tells us to lay our cares before him, because he cares for us. And though that which we know as “The Lord’s Prayer” has prayers of praise and confession, it is largely about asking for stuff.
I think God is honored and blessed the MORE stuff we ask him, for in asking, we acknowledge Him to be the only source of the good things we seek.
When I begin to think of the tremendous needs that are in the lives of the people I know and love, much less those of the missionaries we support, the leaders who rule over us, and the world in which tragedy (e.g. Haiti) strikes, I can’t deemphasize supplication. No, such realizations only make my prayer list burst its seams.
I think we need to be spending more and more time asking for things from the only One who is not hopeless and helpless in the face of such things. Not less. Somehow I don’t think God minds.