What kind of prayer are you?

What sort of prayer (that is person who prays) are you? What is your model of prayer and how do you understand the act of praying. It strikes me there are several sorts of prayer (person who prays).

1) the consumers prayer

The consumer prayer thinks that the number of words, cleverness of their speech, or their volume builds up a pot of prayer points with which to buy God’s help. It may be other things too like the number of people praying or the goodness of the people praying that mints this prayer currency but basically God’s help is earned. He wants us to put the effort in to please him in some religious sort of way before he will help us.

The trouble with the consumers prayer though is that while, with a lot of effort, we might just get God’s help with the one or two small things, we are pretty much priced out of the market for big things. We’d need to clock up hundreds of hours or gather thousands of people to pray if we wanted to move a really big mountain, such as seeing a friend healed of cancer or a city impacted with the gospel.

2) the scientists prayer

The scientist approaches prayer with an open mind. It’s worth a try and he or she will give it a go. Who knows, it might work so let’s do an experiment. The trouble with the scientist’s prayer is that when we do not get what we asked for we stop praying. Maybe you tried it several times before and it didn’t work, so you have proved the hypothesis that God doesn’t answer your prayers.

3) The Spoiled brat’s prayer :

The Spoiled brat’s prayer is basically “give me give me give me! waaaaaa, I want I want….Its not fair, you don’t love me! You never give me what I want…” The trouble with that the Spoiled Brat is are always insecure. Sulking or in a grump with God. No am0unt of answered prayer actually helps change his heart.

4) The legalists prayer

The legalist knows that they are supposed to pray as it will keep God and other people happy with them. When people ask they want to be able to say “yes I have prayed today”. They want to be able to tick that box. The trouble with the legalist though, is that they are always feeling bad about not praying enough. “I know I should pray more but…”. In the end they don’t really want to think about it and doing it gets harder and harder as they are dogged by failure.

5) The son’s prayer

Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them how to pray.  He replied: Say “Our father. ” ie Our Dad. In these two words he rules out all the above types of prayer and tells us:

i) We pray as sons, in the context of relationship, loved by our heavenly Father. We are not buying help from some contractor, we are asking for help from our Father. We are not testing anything out. We already know he hears us and acts. “Dad will you help me with this.”  We are secure in his love and provision.

ii) We should recognise our Father’s leadership over our lives and pick up his agenda. A father has authority in the household. We are not forcing our agenda on him but picking up his in the knowledge that he cares for us and invites us to ask him for our daily needs.

iii) We pray together, in the context of family. It’s not just my father, its “our father”. Two people praying is not worth twice as much as one. Our father is not prime minster of a democracy who is moved by the number of names on a petition. We ask together because we are a family. God’s family. So we like to do stuff together. Our heavenly Father loves to hear his gathered family call out to him.

Why not let Jesus change the sort of prayer you are. If much more enjoyable and far more effective. Our Father does not want to hear lots of words, he just wants to hear you.

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