What is Your Motive for Praying?
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things (1 Corinthians 13:11, KJV).
Were you taught how to pray when you were a child? Doubtless you did so because your parents wanted you to. In my case, my parents didn’t teach me to kneel and pray at bedtime but the supervisory staff at Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind made us say grace. We recited the same words at each meal. As a result, I formed the opinion that God was a supervisor who would punish me if I didn’t say the right words at mealtime.
Learning The Lord’s Prayer was also important to the Anglican Church people with whom I attended church each Sunday morning. We had to recite the words exactly, even if we didn’t understand what “trespasses” meant. When I did manage to get all of the words in their proper order, I felt proud of myself. It gave me an advantage over those who couldn’t do so. The same held true for The Apostle’s Creed when I learned how to recite it.
When I found out that I could ask God for things, I prayed selfish prayers. Often times, I felt disappointed when I wasn’t sent back home from that horrid institution or I didn’t get what I wanted for my birthday. The lack of positive answers to my prayers caused me to resent God and to feel that He was mean.
Only when I was a teenager did I learn
about prayer as communication with God. (click to tweet)
By then, I had surrendered my life to Christ after learning about having a personal relationship with Him. Though I prayed mainly for my needs and wants, I began petitioning for others.
It seems to me that many people pray today as a way to get their wants fulfilled. When nothing happens, some folks use that excuse to justify their unbelief.
As I matured, I came to realize that praying
for others helps us take our eyes off our own situations.
(click to tweet)
It also benefits those who hear us when we pray for them. Though the context of 1 Corinthians 13:11 isn’t specifically about prayer, we all have had times when we mouthed the words taught to us or didn’t even know we could talk to God as the heavenly Father that he is. A day will come when we’ll speak face to face with him and no longer need to guess at His reply.
Bruce is a legally-blind Canadian freelance writer with articles published in a variety of magazines. He has also authored three paperbacks. He frequently posts on his www.bruceatchison.blogspot.com and www.bruceatchison.wordpress.com blogs. Atchison lives in a tiny Alberta hamlet with his house rabbit, Deborah.