For most of my Christian life, I was trained to pray to God a certain way. This form of petitionary prayer is essentially an exercise in begging God to be merciful, or kind or loving towards us or those we love most.
Honestly, this is how I’ve prayed to God for over 40 years now. But recently I’ve started to realize how pointless and stupid this is.
Why? Because what I’m doing is begging God to be good, and that is like asking water to be wet or begging the sun to keep shining. It’s a waste of energy and it honestly assumes that God won’t be good unless I beg for it.
It also assumes that God won’t be good, or kind, or loving, or merciful unless I get enough people to beg along with me. This is sort of what we’re doing when we ask our friends to pray for us, or post on Facebook asking for prayer support for something.
Do we believe that God won’t pay attention to our needs unless we recruit a large enough crowd to shout loud and long enough?
Until recently, I never questioned my own behavior when it comes to prayer. I still catch myself asking for others to pray for me, or coming to God in this begging mode that assumes God won’t be who God is unless I ask God to be who God is.
What I’m trying to learn to do now is to start by quietly sitting in silence to meditate on the goodness of God. I remind myself of all the times God has proven faithful to me, or to my family. I count my blessings. I recall situations where I was desperate, fearful, alone, sick, broke, and in jeopardy. Then I remember how God showed up, blessed me, touched me, helped me, rescued me or provided for me in those moments.
In other words, I take time to remember who God already is and what God has already done to demonstrate this goodness and mercy to me – over and over again.
Once I have that locked into my mind, and my heart is wrapped in the awareness of God’s amazing goodness, I can then consider whatever fear or need or challenge I’m facing at this moment. I can see it reflected in the eyes of a God who is already good, who already loves me, who already knows what I need before I ask.
Honestly, once I’ve done this, there’s really no need to say anything else. I simply realize that God is already good and I start to celebrate God’s goodness and to thank God for being a loving, kind, merciful, caring God who has consistently proven this to me countless times before.
My fears subside in the presence of God’s love. My doubts dissipate in the awe of God’s mercy. My needs fade into the background of God’s amazing grace.
So, I have learned to cast my cares upon God, because first I take the time to remember all of the astounding ways that God cares for me.
This new way of praying has really helped me to reorient my perspective. I think it might do the same for you, if you’re willing to try it.
Let me know how it goes.
Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife have returned to El Paso, TX after 25 years, as part of their next adventure. They hope to start a new house church very soon.
Want Keith to come speak at your church or in your home town? Send an invitation HERE