One of my favorite topics of conversation about God, is the concept of “prayer.” I think you would be surprised how many interesting and varying views there are about talking with God. This space is too limited, and the time you have to read is insufficient to digress into a discussion on “who is God?”, so let’s cut to the chase, and I’ll assume you know I’m talking about the One and Only God, the Creator of the universe, present and revealed in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
With that brief foundation let’s stay on track and talk a little about “prayer.” Regardless of your faith system, or denomination, the Bible (not tradition or the teachings of men) is the defining authority on the topic of prayer. For instance, a good starting point would be Hebrews 11:6 which says, And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. So right out of the gate, any conversation with the eternal deity is based in FAITH and has as its motivation that God “is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
Even the Bible implies that seldom does anybody really come to God for a general conversation about nothing. Instead of “Good morning Lord,” more often than not it’s “Good Lord, it’s morning, help me get through it until I get some coffee.” What may start out as a prayer of “thanksgiving” swiftly and most often turns into a list of needs or litany of wants. So, I have to say it, Hebrews 11:6 does NOT imply that God is just a genie in a bottle, we release to meet our every whim, notion, or fancy.
All too often we use Jeremiah’s words like a dial up to Uber service. Listen to the weeping prophet’s words, as he describes God’s desire to hear from us.
Jeremiah 33:3 Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.
Now, here’s the thing. If we believe that God is (exists), and wants to reward our inquiries (Hebrews 11:6), and that we have his phone number (Jeremiah 33:3), then what SHOULD be the nature of our conversation, when God answers?
Rather than going off in any and every direction based on our circumstances, wants, or needs, God the Son, Jesus Christ, has already given us a real good MODEL on which to base our conversations with the Eternal Father of heaven.
Respect and reverence:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Request for daily needs:
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Direction and wisdom:
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.
I don’t see a genie in a bottle here. I don’t rub the bottle, watch the smoke pour out in a disembodied ghost-like appearance, with a voice that says, “What shall I do for you today, Master?” God doesn’t call anyone “master.”
I see the Creator seeking to engage with His creation, for them to know Him as they were intended to.
I see a Creator who knows what we need, even before we ask for it, because He sees what we don’t see, and knows what we don’t know.
I see a Creator who is timeless and always present, knowing the exact direction which will lead to me fulfilling my purpose within His purposes and His will… and He is willing to guide me there.
I see a Creator who deserves my love, adoration, obedience, and trust.
God is not a genie in a bottle… please don’t be tempted to treat Him as such. When we call God up, in faith, and in sincerity “ask” for His love, protection, guidance, healing, or blessing, but most of all HIS WILL to be done in our lives… we will get it.
Be careful what you ask for.