The Perfect Prayer

Communication is hard. Even among friends and family, we often say things that get misunderstood. Education and intelligence will not prevent moments of misrepresentation and faulty interpretation. He said, she said, he said, and no one can be sure what it all means.

If we have a hard time communicating with each other, even with those who know us best sometimes, it comes as no surprise that we often don’t know the right words to say when we pray.

We struggle with what we should pray for. Should we pray for what we want and believe that God wants us to receive benefits and blessings? Should we always just pray “Thy will be done,” like Jesus in Gethsemane and accept stoically whatever God sends our way? The answer is yes and yes.

The Bible encourages us to pray for good things that we want to see happen. I don’t mean we should pray for things as if God were a cosmic lottery ticket. But we are encouraged to pray for good things like health and the meeting of our needs and God’s blessing on others in need.

At the same time, we are encouraged to recognize that what we want is not always what is best. With humility, we ask for what we want but we also recognize that God knows more and has a perfect plan.

Pray boldly for what you want and accept graciously what you are given. We cannot begin to understand what is really going on when we pray. It is a radical act of faith to believe that God is listening and responding to His creatures. But Jesus told us repeatedly that God not only hears us, but that He really cares about us and our struggles.

So the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane is a model of the perfect prayer in our most difficult and uncertain times: God, if you will, do this for me, but not my will, I really want Your will to be done.

Love in Christ,

Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC

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