Thinking Beyond Your Current Level of Prayer
What Does Prayer Look Like to You? – Part 3
In the previous message we discussed the “pray-er do, prayer see” syndrome. This is where we’ve blindly accepted a behavior that’s no longer practical or has little value as it was passed down by those before us, who had reason to and that reason no longer exists. In other words, the knowledge of why is unknown and even how is unknown. Over time, we’ve accepted the idea that prayer is what it is and can’t be improved, made better, or taken to new levels. So, if not knowing enough about prayer is a problem, then if we want to go to the next level, the solution is obvious. We must learn more. We must educate ourselves better.
In this lesson, we want to give you several ideas on what it means and why we should take prayer to a new level, next level.
If you really knew how, why is it that no one is saying teach us how to pray like [insert your name]?
We have an incomplete image in our mind of when Jesus gave His disciples what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” We will get more into this model of prayer later, but there is one key component that most (51% or more) miss when they read this prayer from The Bible. Have you ever asked yourself why did Jesus give His disciples this prayer model? You think it was something He thought they just needed? Actually He gave them this prayer style because they requested it. It’s recorded that the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray like John taught his disciples.
If you’re a disciple of Jesus ( a student, a.k.a. Christian), why have you not asked the same question? Will you teach me how to pray? If those who were able to talk to God face-to-face desired to learn how to pray, wouldn’t it make sense that we too would need to learn?
On the flipside, if we know how it’s done well, why then is no one asking you to teach them how to pray? Or better stated, why don’t others see how you pray and ask to be your student in the area of prayer? What was so amazing about what John did that caught the attention of Jesus’ followers? Could it be that we’ve lost something in the area of prayer that draws others to it? If this is the case, then to return to it, we will need to take what we have to the next level.
Why do we ask God as if we’re God and call that prayer?
I’ve seen prayer approached in many ways through the years. One of the most common is to demand things of God. In other words, we often give God our demands. That sounds very religious. However, think about that for just a second. You didn’t talk to God. You commanded God. As I picture this in my mind, if one of our children made demands of me, they’d really hate that outcome. Who do we think we are to make demands of God? Who taught us that that would be appropriate? You go into prayer trying to tell God what to do. Who is The Lord? You or Him? Pray-er see, pray-er do. Just because you saw it done this way doesn’t mean it’s good, the best way, or produces the best results. Neither does it mean it’s prayer. It’s time to take what we’ve seen in prayer to the next-level.
Why are people who pray unlikeable people?
Allow me to explain this one for a second. I’m truly a person who loves prayer. You can ask anyone who knows me and for the longest I was in denial at this idea. Why? I never wanted to be seen nor give the appearance that I was one of those weird persons you see praying all the time. For some reason and over time, we’ve made prayer seem less attractive and I think this is one of the main reasons most people don’t pray. They’re not weird enough to pray like the weird “prayer warriors” they’ve seen. Pray-er see, pray-er do.
Let’s look at this from a different angle. I believe that a likeable person attracts others. Therefore, I posed this question to people on a prayer team and those who like prayer. Do you consider yourself a likeable person? One hundred percent of the time, each person always answers yes. Then I must ask the next question, why then isn’t anyone attracted to your life of prayer? If you’re likable then so should your lifestyle, which includes prayer, be likeable. Therefore a pray-er (person who prays) should be attractive in the sense that there should be other people who desire to be in their presence. If your prayers produce results, wouldn’t that make you a popular resource upon which others can draw?
Wasn’t Jesus likeable? Wasn’t his disciples likeable? The answer to this question is easy. Were they not surrounded by people and the answer is yes. A person who prays (pray-er) should at least look like Jesus. Jesus draws people and being that prayer is His idea, then our prayers and people who pray (pray-ers) should draw people. Others should envy your prayer results. If you have the same prayer results as a person who casually prays, I would offer to you that, that is a problem. It’s time to take prayer to the next-level.
We can normally expect 10% answered prayers and 90% unanswered prayers.
This is my main selling point. If I were a prayer salesman, then I can stop with this point. No matter who I ask, “does prayer work,” the resounding answer is always “yes.” So I then probe a little deeper. Would you say 90% of your prayers are answered? 80%? 60%? 50%? The answers begin to shrink and keep shrinking. The truth is most (the majority) believe that roughly 10% of their prayers get answered. If that’s the case, that means 90% of the time one can expect their prayers to go unanswered. Does prayer work? The scripture is clear that God hears us when we pray. So then, why are the results so off?
Based upon what I just shared shows that there is indeed a problem. If there is a problem, we need a solution. We need to figure out how to turn our 10% answered / 90% unanswered prayer into 90% answered / 10% unanswered. That would mean we’d have to take prayer to the next-level.
You have to admit that the results we see in prayer aren’t what we desire them to be. So, I share these ideas with you not so that you can give up on your current knowledge and method of prayer or to make you feel bad about what you know. But rather, I want to set the stage for you to begin thinking bigger, thinking better, thinking Biblically about a concept that we’ve somehow taken for granted because of the “pray-er see, pray-er do” syndrome. It’s time to take prayer to the next-level.
Before I close out this message, let me reassure you that prayer does work, the question is do we really know how to work it?
Question: do we really know how prayer works?
Reference #1: Luke 11:1 NLT, Bible.com, accessed June 15, 2021, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/LUK.11.1.NLT
Reference #1: Psalms 34:17 NLT, Bible.com, accessed June 15, 2021, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/PSA.34.17.NLT
All Scripture references used by permission, see our Scripture copyrights. [https://www.kerryaclark.com/scripture-copyrights/]