Prayer Isn’t Aladdin’s Lamp – Try Praying Backwards
Key Bible Verse: Not to us. O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. – Psalm 115:1, NIV
Bonus Reading: Luke 11:1-4
Something in us whispers that it’s not right to treat our God like a celestial vending machine into which we place faith nickels to get the jackpot we want.
Somehow proper prayer must put more trust in the will of an infinitely wise God than in human wants and wisdom. Otherwise failure to get the things we want will force us to doubt either the power of prayer or the ability of God.
Jesus taught His disciples not to doubt when they prayed and to expect answers. If this doesn’t mean that prayer is simply a means of snapping our fingers to get God to do our bidding, what does it mean?
Answers come as we weigh each word—skipping none of Jesus’ instruction to pray with belief and boldness and—strange as it may seem—to simultaneously consider the wisdom of praying backwards.
To pray backwards is to put first priority on the words we say last in our prayers. If we’d remember to start where we end—daring to pray backwards with the desires of our hearts (if not the actual words of our mouth)—we’d discover the foundation of blessing on which all answered prayer is built.
Praying entire prayers in Jesus’ name profoundly alters our priorities and powerfully sends our requests to God.
—Bryan Chapell in Praying Backwards
My Response: What enables me to pray without doubt is …
Thought to Apply: Before we can pray, “Lord, Thy kingdom come,” we must be willing to pray, “My kingdom go.”—Alan Redpath (Scottish preacher)
Adapted from Praying Backwards (Baker, 2005).