Ineffective Prayers

by on January 8, 2016

Those two words have been on my mind the last few weeks. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying my prayers are ineffective in the sense that God doesn’t hear them, because He does hear them, but He knows my problems and needs even before I utter the words (Mt 6:8). So although I say them aloud and share my concerns with God, my prayers seem to not produce results in my immediate area of concerns. Or at least not results I can “see” right now.

Maybe ineffective isn’t the word I should be mulling over, but the fact that I am praying to small. Timidity might be a better word. Our infinite God can do far more than I can ever imagine and on a way bigger scale than I can even comprehend. So, why do I spend my mornings with platitudes, minor issues and concerns in my life instead of thinking bigger and outside the box as it were? That’s the question that has me thinking more deeply about my prayer life and the concerns on my heart.

When reading through my prayer journal, I was struck by how the last few months my prayers have focused on asking God to help me surrender more to His leading in my life. How I desire to follow Him more fully and live a life that is reflective of His love for all. We are called to reflect Christ with each breath we take; we are His ambassadors here on this earth, His hands and feet in the world. (Ga 2:20; 2Cor 5:20; Jn 14:12)

Some days I find it so easy to pour out my heart to God and to pray big bold prayers, but mostly it’s the simple things I pray for. Wisdom for the day, healing for a friend, an ear open to the Holy Spirit through out the day, travel mercies for those friends traveling. These are all concerns on my heart, wonderful and good things to pray, but how are those prayers leading me to reflect the love of Christ to others? My prayers have become more about comfort than boldness for the Lord.

“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.” 

Teresa of Ávila

Boldness in prayer. This is what I desire for 2016. Bold steps to share the Lord with those I see each week. Bold prayers for those I love, for God to touch them through my words and actions.

It is one thing to hope my life reflects my love for Christ, but it is another to purposefully speak His name each day in my encounters. Not to push His name upon others, but to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15)

The beginning of the year is always a great time to do a prayer life check. How is your prayer life? Lukewarm and safe or is it bold? Where do you need to be bold? Ask God to fill you with the desire to think big, pray big and watch Him do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine. (Eph 3:20)

My prayer for the upcoming week: God would provide me ample opportunity to speak His name, of His love, grace and mercy. As I serve in my community, I pray the hearts of those around me would be open and receptive to the love of Christ. May I boldly speak His name and may His name be glorified in all I do!


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Love the Teresa of Avila quote! Thanks for using your writing gift when you feel promted. Your transparency is refreshing and furthers my soul searching.

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