The Power of Generic Prayer
I’ve noticed an interesting trend in my prayer life as I’ve grown older… though many people will preach on the value of specificity in prayers, through the years I’ve found myself praying increasingly generic prayers. Sure, there are still those super specific things and people that I lift up to the throne… but even in those requests, I’ve found my thoughts drifting more towards “Thy will be done” or “make it count” versus “fix this, heal that, bring about that.”
What’s really cool is that the Bible continues to confirm the generic prayer model. Even in Jesus’s prayer, The LORD’S Prayer, you’ll notice Christ isn’t praying specifics… He asks for God’s will to be done (note the lack of detailed expectations) and that daily provision as well as forgiveness be provided.
Jesus specifically prays in generalities. And I love that because it gives God a very wide-berth to answer. After all, why would we limit God in our prayerful expectations when scripture tells us repeatedly that He desires to “do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine”? (Eph. 3:20) It seems an awful waste of prayer!
Through the years I learned that I rarely know what I really need to be praying in any given situation. Either the situation is so hopelessly complicated that I don’t even know where to start in my prayers, or it’s so discombobulated that I’m not entirely sure what to actually ask for… I don’t KNOW the right answer.
Beyond that, too many times to count have I set up earthly expectations of how I think an answer needs to look… only to realize that God has other plans. Sometimes HUGE other plans- both good and ‘bad’. But always HIS will and HIS time. Prayers are so often about expectations. And I’ve come to find out that my meager human expectations too often get in the way of God- they do nothing but create false outcomes that then provide a slippery slope of regret, bitterness, confusion, and even anger- often towards God.
Specificity in praying has the ability to disable our expectations of the God of the Universe.
I need to pray better. I need to pray broadly.
But that involves giving up a measure of control now doesn’t it? For many that’s a sobering thought. For those control-freaks, praying provides a major pipeline to the Almighty- a direct ear to the Man with the Plan. As a control-freak myself, being able to speak with God about stuff gives me a sense of calm… and control. And yet that sense of control flies in the face of what the posture of intercession should be… humility and meekness. Giving up the ‘control’ in our prayers, by broadening what we’re asking (and therefore expecting) releases the power of the Almighty to really do His thing. And for Him to not only meet our expectations, but blow them out of the water.
All creation exists to glorify the Creator. Our prayers therefore should always exist to glorify God in whatever He sees best to do- whether that involves healing sickness or allowing death, miraculously ‘fixing’ a problem or letting us wade through the deep waters, winning the lottery or working 3 jobs to make ends meet… rest assured God will always bring an answer or solution that will glorify Him the most.
“God- Make this count- however that looks, feels, or ends up being, Lord… make it count for Your glory. May You choose, in Your sovereignty, to fix this in whatever way shines the brightest light on You. Be glorified, in whatever way You see fit, in this situation.”
I love this elaborated generic style! I love that it gives all control to God to do and see as He wills. I love that it, in a sense, lowers (and yet broadens!) my expectations in order that God can exceed beyond even my imagination. I can pray recklessly in this way because His Will and His Way will always be the best- I never want to limit that.
Dear ones, today pray broadly, pray deeply, without expectation (except that He will answer in the perfect way!), with assurance that God will be glorified no matter what!