Tag Archives: How not to pray

How should we pray? (Maybe not like this)


There are no ‘magic’ words or secret codes prayer phrases; we should pray from our hearts. But let’s invite God to search and cleanse our hearts before we make our requests. Our prayers get mixed up when our minds overrule the message of our heart. For example:


The detailed informant:
“Oh Lord who sees and knows all things, please watch over Judith, the one in our flock who lives at 457 Main Street, the two-story house with the blue shutters. She’s having gall bladder surgery 8:30 a.m. Central Time Friday at Our Blessed Hope Hospital on South Street. Give Dr. John Walter Bernard II a good night sleep and his favorite breakfast so he will be strong and concentrate on the medical procedures he was taught at John Hopkins University back in 1985.”


The name dropper:
“Lord, I just ask you, Lord, to, Lord, be with those, Lord, who, need you, Lord.” (You wouldn’t talk this way to your friend Betty; why talk to God this way?)


The Gossiper:
“Lord, change the heart of sinner Sam Jones who I heard is having an adulterous affair with Suzy Mae.”


The King James prayer:
“I beseech Thee, in The Holiest Of Holies, O Lord. Heareth the prayer of Thy lowliest worm, and forgiveth mine gravest iniquities…” (This might be okay if you talk that way in real life.)


The self-seeker:
“God, watch over my red sports car. Protect it from scratches and dents so it can shine for your glory.”


The vengeance-seeker:
“Lord go after the person who dinged my new car in the parking lot today. Pursue them until the end of their days. Punish them with your mighty right hand so that I, your righteous one, will be avenged and lifted up.”


The ‘just’ prayer:
“Lord I JUST ask that you will do JUST (do this) and JUST (do that) in my life. . . And JUST these other things on my 12 page prayer list, JUST like I want.”


The pharisee (praying loudly):
“Oh God, you know my righteous ways, how I always praise you and seek only to be blameless in your sight. Surely, you’ve noticed how blameless I already am! And thankful you for giving me such an extremely humble heart.”


The comfort seeker:
“Lord I want to know you and be just like you. Only protect me from all pain and sorrow and suffering. Let my life be an example of worldly success so others will know that you are my God.”


The babbler (when asked to say a simple grace at meal time):
“O Lord, I want to lift up to you all the believers of the world, the plagues in Africa, the wars in the middle east, the infidelity of … (that other political party). Thank you Lord for watching over me all my days, for watching over the day I was born and all the days of my childhood and…” (Praying without ceasing is intended to be a condition of our heart, not a litany of endless words.)


The intent here isn’t to be judgmental of others but to ask God to guard our own hearts. Don’t worry over your prayer words. Just come to Him with thanksgiving in your heart and let your requests be known.


“Lord, teach us to pray as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1)


“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)