An Alternative Prayer

Someone on Facebook recently posted a prayer asking God to bless, heal, and provide for oneself, family, and friends. Having been rereading The Divine Conspiracy lately, it sort of struck me oddly. I couldn’t help but think of Jesus’ words on the Sermon on the Mount (paraphrased), “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… If you love those who love you, do you expect some kind of reward? Don’t you even see the drug lords doing that?”

Most of our prayers seem to be for ourselves, and I don’t think that’s entirely wrong. Much of the Psalms are prayers for help in trouble and despair. Psalm 50 even has God assuring the Psalmist of rescue and the honor to God that would come as a result. We are supposed to pray for ourselves because we are limited, and we do need help. We pray to ask for what we need (“Give us this day our daily bread.”) and to connect with the one is our source and our boss, tutor, friend, and comforter.

And yet, does it ever just get narcissistic? And does it ever just become another version of the world’s values instead of the “upside-down” system that is God’s economy? I fear so. And so, I thought I’d write an alternative prayer, one that isn’t necessarily better than the one from Facebook, but one that I hope captures another side of what God desires for us.

Heavenly Father,

Draw my eyes and heart to your presence wherever I am. While I do ask you to take away my anxieties and sicknesses, help me trust you when I must walk through them. Though I may desire the good life, grant me even more the life that will make me good. Watch over, bless, and heal not just me, but also my enemies, and help me love them as you do. Give them and their families peace, love, and joy, and may my heart come to truly desire this for them.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen

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2 responses

  1. patriciaryanmadson

    Thank you Matthew. This is the wisest thinking I’ve heard about prayer. I plan to print this and pray it. Blessings to you and your family and to our enemies.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:42 am

    • I’m touched, Patricia. Thank you.

      September 10, 2013 at 1:12 pm

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