“And I pray for those who don’t know how to pray…” 

Of all the prayer requests for hungering and thirsting after righteousness, this one petition from a previous week of prayer made me stop and think: Do we have to unlearn our fake praying so that we can learn how to pray?

The Puritans would say “Pray until you pray.”  In other words, pray until you get past the stiffness, the formal “Thee” and “Thou”, the “lead, guide, and protect” or “we just ask…” from our worn out slogans and learn how to pray.

Being around people who know how to pray helps me to pray.  Yet the people that are often the “experts” in prayer aren’t the ones you’d think.  They’re the weak, desperate, needy people, and their prayers sound like they’re talking to Someone they really know – that deep, intimate, connected knowing.  And while we cannot see the inner heart’s reality, we do have evidences of fruit from those who really know how to pray because those who know God demonstrate growth in obedience and love (Jas 4:3; 1 Jn 5:1-4). 

The best lesson I learned in prayer was from a man who was weak and desperate.  A passion for God oozed out of his pores.  He said he was lousy at prayer.  But to hear him pray was to be with someone who knew God.  With his Bible open, he would pray: “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!  Hear me, please!  I know there are many reasons you shouldn’t listen, but because of Jesus, help me!”  Soon words from one of my favourite psalms, Psalm 130, were sprinkled through his prayer.  He was praying Scripture, and his prayer was authentic, desperate, biblical!

Opening my Bible has helped me to depend upon the Spirit’s power.  Not in some formula or rote way.  But praying, eyes open, Bible in hand, desperate for help from God by his Spirit, reminding myself of who God is and appealing to God to act on his promises.  I get pushed to move past those typical meaningless evangelical prayer phrases that feel like vain repetitions and empty words (Matt 6:1ff).  Instead, I have to pray for the fullness of God, a greater knowledge of him, more spiritual wisdom and discernment, a walk that is pleasing to him that bears much fruit, strengthened with his glorious power, endurance, patience, joy (Col. 1:9-11).   Kingdom-sized prayers with laser-like precision for me, my family, my friends, my church, my community, my Father’s world.

I want bigger answers to prayer – more people saved, more holiness in my life, more love in our fellowship – more of God!!!  Are you ready to join me?  Hungry?  Thirsty? Desperate?  Cast off the silly entanglements (Heb 12:1)!  Be eager for the pursuit!  Focus on Jesus (Heb 12:2)!

Can there ever be a bad time to seek the Lord and pray?  I want more from God, so let’s come boldly and ask ridiculously large things of God in the name of his Son. 

Wanting more,

~Pastor Andrew

P.S. – Why not join us in Ilderton on Wednesday mornings @ 8 a.m for a time of corporate prayer?

Prepare your heart for Sunday by reading the passage and listening to the songs we’ll sing.