Prayer Isn’t Aladdin’s Lamp – Wish Upon a Star?
Bryan Chapell is the president of Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. But he still teaches the introductory homiletics courses.
The two words Bryan stresses for this generation are authority and redemption. Our culture and the church, he observes, are desperate for dependable truths that address the world’s brokenness. And the redeeming work of Christ empowers all we must think and do.
All of God’s Word, he says, is a unified message of human need and divine provision.
What He Said…Wish upon a Star?
When the farmer prays for rain to water wilting crops, and the Sunday school teacher prays for sun to protect the church picnic, whose prayer should be answered? Will God simply answer the one whose prayers are best and whose faith is greatest? Is our world controlled by billions of competing wishes?
When we treat prayer like a surefire wishing star, we tether God to the leash of our understanding. And if our wisdom defines the limits of God’s, then our world will inevitably unravel.
The job we want for extra income may take us from the family that God knows needs us more. The immediate cure for our sickness may deprive us of the patience that God will use to bring Jesus into the hearts of our children.
Surely we have to depend on wisdom greater than our own when we pray. But how do we reconcile this instinctive understanding with the Bible’s teaching about praying for whatever we want?
Adapted from Praying Backwards (Baker, 2005)
Prayer for the Week: Heavenly Father, focus my heart on seeking Christ’s purposes more than my own and on bringing Him glory.