Know Him better
In a study on prayer several years ago, 1,137 people were surveyed by LifeWay Christian Resources in the U.S. Close to half (48%) pray at least once a day. 74% prayed for their own problems or difficulties, 82% prayed for their family or friends, 38% prayed for people suffering from natural disasters. Interestingly, 21% prayed for winning the lottery, close to 10% prayed for finding a good parking spot or not getting caught speeding.
Undoubtedly, it’s very common to pray for our own needs and for people and events around us. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus also taught us to pray for our “daily bread” and “deliver us from evil”, etc. (Mt 6:11-13). In 1Timothy chapter 2, Paul urged Christians to pray for peace, the government and the world.
What do we often pray for? Are our prayers a shopping list of requests for God to do something for us? Or for our family and friends? Basically, it’s asking God to fix what we could not properly do. The problem is that these types of prayers often make us focus on whether our prayers are answered, or the outcome of our prayers. But what other focus or aspects should our prayers have?
Paul prayed for the church in Ephesians in Eph1:15-23. After giving thanks for the church, the focus of his prayer in v.17-19 was for them to “know God.” When we reference Ephesians chapters 1 & 3 and Philippians chapter 1, we find that Paul habitually prayed for the Christians’ spiritual life and their relationship with the Lord. What can we learn from this?
The “know” that Paul meant is not just head knowledge, but a deep and thorough understanding of God. Obviously, Paul finds it important for us, through prayer, to really know God, and to establish a two-way relationship with Him. Brothers and sisters, do we pray for knowing God? And in our prayer for others, do we pray that they too can know God in a deeper way?
Let us learn from Paul’s prayer together, to “keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better (Eph 1:17).
我們一般又會為甚麼事情祈禱呢？我們禱告的内容，會否像一張購物清單般 — 求神為我們做這事？求神為我的家人、朋友做那事？總之，就是求神幫自己辦妥未能完成的事情。問題是，這樣的祈禱，很容易使我們著重於祈禱是否蒙應允，又或者會很在意祈禱的結果。其實，祈禱的焦點及方向還有甚麼呢？