Don’t be surprised at the title, howbeit it is partly true.
I have prayed enough for myself and if you feel like praying for me, I will put that responsibility in your court or in the court of anyone God will be ministering to to do so.
Having prayed all manner of prayers for myself, I wonder why I have not seen all the results and you might be wondering too. Well, few causes of the seemingly unanswered prayers are not farfetched:
- Praying needless prayers.
- Praying selfish prayers.
- Praying mindless prayers.
By the time all the prayers I’ve made for myself are categorized, it won’t surprise me that they mostly fell under these categories and that to me is waste of time and a sign of ineffective praying.
I will only write briefly for the 1st and the 3rd points while I will like us to focus more on the 2nd.
Needless prayers are of 2 types in my opinion:
- Prayers made in and with worrying. There are levels of anxiety we will not experience if we have a degree of knowledge and this means that there are certain prayers that will become needless the moment we have some knowledge. Knowledge is one great drug for anxiety which when used will stop this kind of needless prayer. I usually use this anecdote: I work in a hospital and I observed that many relatives are worried sick about the condition of their beloved but I observed that most of the times even the least of the doctors who know what is going on will be calm. Sometimes the relatives will be going up and down the corridors praying and sometimes speaking in tongues but the doctors and the nurses are simply about their work. At the end of the day the sick recovers. The difference between the anxious relative and the calm doctor? Knowledge. Will the scenario be the same if the relative is also knowledgeable about the condition that brought them to the hospital? No. If knowledge can make you not to pray certain prayer when it is not because you don’t trust God or that you’re relying on your own understanding, but because you know what to do, then making that prayer is needless.
- Prayers whose contents have been catered for in a promise or a principle. Eg. Whatever you sow you reap. Sow and you will reap. If you sow prayer where work is to be sowed what will your harvest be? Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long. Honor your parents and stop praying for long life. If you honor your parent and you don’t have long life something else is at work. So honor when you should and stop praying for what honoring should do. etc.
When prayers is made routinely it becomes more difficult to keep mindless prayers out of the door. Prayers are part of religion but if prayers are reduced to a religious thing we might be praying mindlessly without knowing.
Importunate and fervent prayers are what happen when we put our mind to our prayers but we think sometimes that thinking while praying is impossible, which is rather unfortunate some of the answers we seek in prayer are given as we are thoughtful in our prayers. Mindless prayers have been indirectly or directly discussed in 5 Simple Reasons Prayers Go Unanswered you can read more.
There are two other parties that should be considered in our prayers: God and other people.
Whenever our prayers do not consider God’s will and their effects on people’s life, it is selfish. Another way to put this is that whenever our heart’s posture is such that we care less about the welfare of others or God’s mind, but as long as we get what we want, we are simply praying selfishly.
To solve selfish prayer altogether, Jesus gave us an admonition, an instruction that once followed will end every selfish prayers:
“Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Who among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him. Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:7-12 CSB
Sadly, we don’t usually read this scripture with the 12th verse. I don’t know how I’ve managed to read this scripture exclusive of verse 12 all these years, I know this verse alright but I never saw the connection almost all of the times.
See, the key to most of our prayers being answered and solution to selfish praying lies in our application of Jesus’ teaching here:
Start doing for people the kind of things you ask from God and God will begin to move people to do for you what you ask of Him.
This I suppose, puts the responsibility of answering prayers on us as much as on God.
We have been too quick to quote Matthew 7:7, but reluctant to apply Matthew 7:12. We may blame unanswered prayers on God as much as we want but until we sort this out, we are certainly to blame.
I am therefore calling you as much as myself to praying responsibly. I have prayed enough for myself, I need to become answer to some people’s prayers, I need to begin to pray for others than I’ve prayed for myself.
Jesus actually has been praying for us since His ascension yet, I don’t know of any need or lack He’s suffering, therefore I’m reminding myself that making intercession for others doesn’t mean my needs will go unmet.
If you’ve read this far and you think you want someone to pray with you, anonymously leave a prayer need in the comment below.