Wednesday, November 22
D.A. Carson, Praying with Paul, p. 11. “Never put people down, except on your prayer list.” That’s a cute little saying that speaks for itself. I don’t need to elaborate on it. But the idea of a prayer list, although not a new thing, invites a little evaluation. My prayer life has never been exemplary, but at different times, I have used prayer lists. I don’t make a list of things to talk about when I visit my friends. Sometimes I make a short list if I have more than two or three ailments when I see my doctor. Why should we need a list when we go to prayer? I find that I can cover a lot of ground in prayer without a list. Sometimes my prayers are “hit and miss.” I go from one thing to another in a capricious way. But talking with the creator of the universe, a holy God, is different than going to the grocery store. A list tends to be perfunctory, and what is lost is what is most important to him—love and intimacy. Last week, I decided to just enter into prayer with the view of personally relating with God. It was very rewarding. And I didn’t need a list. Eventually I got around to some special requests, but I first concentrated on all that he has done in my life. That humbled me and made me truly thankful and worshipful. It was, I think, a little more what God would like. There is, however, a purpose for a list—which I still use. I have somewhat of a record of how God answered prayer. That alone is worth having a list. I don’t expect anyone to emulate what I do in prayer. Everyone is unique and will have a unique way to approach God. But the important thing is to pray from a sincere and submissive heart.