Are we praying wrong?

Published 9:47 am Monday, April 16, 2018

By Karen Y. Stevens

There is a segment on TV called “You’re eating it wrong?” It gives you 60 second hints on how to eat something different that makes it more enjoyable. One of my favorites was on cereal. They said most people pour the milk all over the cereal and get it all wet, and then it gets soggy before you finish eating. The way to do it correctly, is pour the milk on one side, where the top of the cereal is dry, and the bottom is wet. This way when you take a spoonful, you get dry and wet cereal, so the texture is more balanced and crunchy. I tried it, it’s better this way.

In Colossians 1, Paul states – “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people.” “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you.  We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[e] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work….etc.” (The verses are a little too lengthy for this column, so feel free to read them in their entirety.)

The point is according to these verses, Paul is not praying for them to recover from sickness, or a new job, or for their finances to be great, or their dreams to come true. He is praying for them to have more wisdom and knowledge of God, and to be fruitful for the Kingdom. If you think about it, where in the Bible does it talk about the disciples praying for healing, other than in the four Gospels? And even in the four Gospels, they didn’t go to their prayer closet and beg and plead for healing, or other stuff. They either touched them or said “be healed”, or said their faith had healed them.

I searched “praying” in and all the scriptures on praying were for God’s will, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, etc. Hanna was the only one praying for something, and that was a child, which is God’s will for us to be fruitful.

Even when Paul was in prison, he wasn’t praying for his release; he was praying for everyone else’s salvation and attitude.

Like the segment on TV, I think we are doing it wrong. Not all wrong, but it might just need some tweaking. We are supposed to follow the examples of Christ, and His Disciples. I don’t see the way we pray these days, are the way they prayed in those days.

Don’t misunderstand; I think prayer is very powerful. But, I know a lot of people who have lost their way because God did not answer their prayer. Maybe, we are misleading them.

James 4:3 states – When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

Read the scriptures before and after this one. It makes it much clearer to see that God is not concerned with our happiness, but our best interest, and the interest of others. Maybe we need to observe what we are praying for, and tweak those prayers, so we will be doing it right, and have better expectations.


Karen Y. Stevens is founder of the Orange County Christian Writers Guild