My wife and I are old school. We try really hard to teach our three daughters their manners. We believe saying “please” and “thank you” are little signs of maturity and respect.
Our two-year-old has lately been in the habit of saying, “Give me…” (Actually it comes out more like, “Gimme…”)
“Gimme water. Gimme Barbie doll. Gimee up here.” It’s to the point now where we’ve just started ignoring her until she finally realizes what we’re doing. Then, her request changes a bit. “Ugh. Can I please have some water?”
Hallelujah!! There it is! A simple “please.” (We’ll work on the “ugh” comments later. One step at a time, right?)
As I think back over my own personal prayers recently, I have to wonder if I’ve fallen into the same trap as my ungrateful two-year-old.
- I pray prayers of petition – seeking God’s direction in my life, my family, and my church.
- I pray prayers of intercession – lifting up the needs of others.
- I pray prayers of confession – acknowledging sin in my own life and seeking God’s forgiveness.
If I’m not careful, my prayers begin to exclude simple praise and adoration, and I begin to take on the same selfish, “Gimme…” attitude that I so detest in my own child.
Prayer is a beautiful thing. We have 24/7 access to the Creator of the universe. David wrote, “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.” (Psalm 55:17)
When we pray, God hears!
Prayer is a powerful thing. God not only hears our prayers, but he answers our prayers. “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16).
Our prayers aren’t powerful because of who we are. They are powerful because of who we are talking to!
Prayer is a worshipful thing. It’s an opportunity for us to praise and adore our heavenly Father for all that he has done, is doing, and will do in our lives.
- Should we make requests? Absolutely! That’s biblical. (See John 14)
- Should we intercede for others? Absolutely! That’s biblical. (See Ephesians 6:19 and James 5:16))
- Should we confess our sin? Absolutely! That’s biblical. (See Matthew 6:12)
Here are three overlooked reasons our prayers should always include praise:
1. It reminds me who the boss is.
When I only make requests in my prayers, it creates a false illusion that I’m the boss. The great equalizer is to include praise.
God is not a Santa Clause or a genie in the bottle waiting to grant our every wish.
Praising God in your prayers continually brings into focus a consistent reminder that God is in charge, and we are his servants.
When I stop and just begin to adore God, thank him for his goodness, and praise him for his majesty, it puts me in my place and puts God in his.
2. It fosters contentment.
Contentment can be an illusive quality. I used to be content, until they came out with the new iPhone.
Contentment isn’t found in having more, it’s found in wanting less. Now that’s easier tweeted than actually lived out. It’s nearly impossible to just stop wanting something. Don’t believe me? Think of something you really want. Now . . . stop wanting it.
You won’t find contentment in having your wants, but you will find contentment in worship. When we experience true moments of worship, that’s where we find complete and total contentment in Christ. Everything becomes centered on Christ instead of our wants.
Our prayers should always include worship to foster contentment.
3. It defeats the enemy.
We have a very real spiritual enemy who seeks to kill, steal and destroy. Ultimately our enemy is already defeated, but it sure does seem like he wins a few daily battles in my own life.
One overlooked way to combat the enemy is to include praise in our prayers.
When the enemy can’t discredit you, he tries to discourage you. However, when you take a moment to simply adore Christ and praise your heavenly Father, the enemy is defeated.
Have you ever tried to argue with someone who is constantly smiling. It doesn’t work.
So, this challenge is for myself, and I welcome you to join me. I want my prayers to always include moments of praise, moments of worship, and moments of adoration.
What about you? Are your prayers weighted on one side or the other? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Andy Comer – andycomer.org