The Mis-understanding of Prayer
After 50+ years in local church ministry, I'm convinced that most churches/Christians don't understand the power or purpose for prayer. Fully 90% of the prayer topics addressed in most churches are health related; 5% is asking blessing upon whatever meeting is taking place, with only 5% left to deal with such issues as the Good News of the Kingdom, salvation of the lost, missions, elected civil leaders and spiritual growth of the saints. (all of which are Biblical) If we learn to use the formidable tool that God has given us, I believe we will see the church come alive and our nation once again impacted by the Gospel of Christ. A study of the prayers of Jesus, Paul, David, Daniel and Nehemiah gives insight into prayer that prompts God's response. I think that God is waiting for His people to seek Him as something other than an EMT. We need to learn to seek His face, not just His hands. Once we begin to pray as the Bible teaches, we will see God's intervention in all aspects of our lives, our society and our nation.
I've heard it said that we spend more time praying to keep Christians out of heaven, i.e. healed, than we do to get the lost into heaven. It is OK to bring our concerns to the Lord. It is not OK when we ignore His concerns. Real prayer addresses the issues that are on the mind and heart of God, and gets us in sync with His agenda. What has helped me is to allow God to initiate my prayer time through His Word. When I read and the Holy Spirit quickens something to my attention, I use that as the springboard to pray. We need to say as the early disciples did, "Lord, teach us to pray."