I realised that my prayers were basically a laundry list of wants, not a meaningful conversation with my Creator. Even now, when I think about corporate prayer times, whether at church or my daily staff devotionals at school, do I see that people are not engaging in prayer as biblically represented or as (I believe) God intended. Even privately I still periodically find myself falling into that trap of treating God as a vending machine, informing Him of how things should be. It's not usually conscious or deliberate. It's just old habits that creep up on me.
On the other hand, don't think it's not okay to ask God for things. Intercessory prayer is the most common type of prayer in the Bible. People asked for big things and so can we! When we don't call out to God we downplay His magnificence...and the devil loves it! It’s like in a movie I enjoy. A little girl gets a camera for her birthday and she has a huge imagination, so she goes out and starts taking pictures of clouds that look like rabbits or ice cream cones or unicorns or elephants. And she has this one neighbour…this old grump of a man who tells her, after she has been taking pictures for quite some time, that her camera is magical. That every time she took a picture it caused some sort of disaster. Well, this little girl is understandably upset as she watches the news that night and finds out she has cause a train wreck, an earthquake, about 15 car accidents, and a number of other things. She puts the camera down and never picks it up again. And just like that crabby neighbour, Satan convinces us that we are doing more harm than good. That we are stepping out of bounds. He tells us that we too are sinners so how dare we pray on behalf of someone else. How arrogant are we!
Friends, don't be afraid to ask God for things. Just make sure that you are utilising the authority, power, and privilege of prayer. Go to Him in humbleness, thanksgiving, and repentance, recognising all He has done for you, your family, your acquaintances, and mankind in the past. Be sacrificial in your prayers. Make sure that you are willing to uphold your end of the covenant you enter into when you pray. Be bold in your prayers! Be stubborn! Be daring!
Bonnie Gray recently wrote an article for Relevant magazine, in which she really hits the nail on the head. She said, "Praying touches the part of me that is in process, uncertain, full of questions and doubts." When was the last time you felt that connection with God? Perhaps evaluating what you are doing in your prayer time will help.