What does it mean to pray biblically?
by JoHannah Reardon
For years I attended a prayer group that included close friends. We prayed for one another, the church leadership, and for any needs we happened to know about. After one of these times, a friend said she was considering dropping out of the group because she felt overwhelmed by the prayer requests. It seemed to her as though everyone’s problems were insurmountable, and although we’d been praying for the same things for months, it didn’t seem as though anyone’s life was getting any better.
So what were we doing wrong? Nowhere in Scripture do I find prayers for Marta’s fibromyalgia, Jess’s unruly children, or Connie’s rotten work conditions. The prayers in the Bible are powerful and life-changing, full of God’s power and glory.
Consider Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:16-19. In fact, read it aloud with feeling:
“I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”
Wow! Such a prayer puts fibromyalgia, unruly children, and rotten work conditions in perspective. But obviously, we shouldn’t ignore our problems and pretend they don’t exist. How can we transform them by putting them into the bigger context of what God wants to do in our lives?
And remember, do not treat prayer as a complaint session, when in reality it’s an incredible opportunity to gain the wisdom, direction, and power of the King of kings who rules all time and places.