Posts Tagged ‘God for us’

Pray WITH Rather than FOR

March 28, 2012

We usually pray FOR (things, people, results, etc.), but how often do we pray WITH?

Jesus was saddened in the Gethsemane experience by his disciples’ inability to “watch” with him for one single hour during his time of greatest struggle up to that point (Matthew 26:40; Mark 14:37) Admittedly the verb here does not mean pray, but rather to keep watch in earnestness. Still, it seems the Lord would have been glad for some company in praying.

Before I go any further, lest anyone get the idea that this is condemnatory, let me a confession: I am 59, and in the 55 or so of those years when I have been capable of consciously praying, I have not even touched the surface of prayer. Many times I have not prayed at all. I have never prayed systematically, regularly, or diligently. At 59, I would have to say I am a newbie at prayer.

Still, I see something worth pursuing here. Mostly we pray with an eye toward getting, accomplishing, doing. How often do we see prayer as relationship, as a “being with”?

I was reading the first chapter (of 12) in a book called The Kneeling Christian by “An Unknown Christian,” and making some notes on it, and all of a sudden it struck me: We pray FOR, but do we pray WITH?

Prayer FOR is adversarial and distant. It is sitting on one side of the table with God on the other, or standing on one side of the cash register with God at the till, or writing a letter to a Santa Claus who lives further than the North Pole and, yes, is checking his list twice—per minute. In situations of desperation, prayer is pleading with a Judge or a Policeman or the Principal, for mercy, for leniency, for release. And (maybe unfortunately) sometimes it even works—at least to get what we want.

Prayer WITH is relational and in-your-face. Prayer WITH is family. Prayer WITH is marriage. It is living and working and simply being TOGETHER.

How would it change our attitude toward prayer if we saw ourselves in living relationship with God?

What if we saw ourselves as seated next to God traveling somewhere together? What if we saw God as our guide blazing the trail for us? What if we saw him as our best friend, our ally, our business associate, our marriage partner?

What if we saw God on our side when we pray?

What if we saw ourselves on God’s side? Would we ever want to get back on ours?