Prayer confuses me sometimes. I believe that most of this springs from my belief that God is sovereign and that He is good. Using these two beliefs as my foundation, I tend to approach prayer from an ?it is going to be what it is going to be? perspective. I don?t say this out of bitterness, but out of a trust in the goodness and love of God - He can do whatever He pleases and He is going to do what is best for me because He loves me.
I was studying in Colossians last night and was confronted with a prayer request of Paul (4:3). He asked the church in Colossae to pray that a door would be opened to him so that he could preach the gospel to other people. As I read through the letter again, several prayers sprung up. In the early part of the letter, Paul prayed that the Colossians would be filled with the knowledge of God?s will (1:9). Paul reported in the closing of this letter, that Epaphras, their spiritual father, diligently prayed for them that they would stand firm, mature and trust (4:12).
I have begun to explore this hypothesis: what if our requests to God are to be centered around maturity of believers and expansion of the kingdom? This would be consistent with our mission in life to reach and teach. I am beginning to explore what the prayers of New Testament are and see if they fit into this hypothesis.
I do know that the scripture teaches prayer is also for asking. In the prayer that Jesus taught the disciples, he told them to pray ?give us this day our daily bread?. (However, in the Sermon on the Mount he did indicate that we were not to worry about food, clothes or shelter because God know our physical needs and will take care of them. What if the prayer that Jesus taught was more about acknowledging that God gave the bread then it is requesting that He give it ? some Greek person will have to look that one up and report to me ? out of my league!)
Something to think about.....