Prayer: his glory. my good.

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In his book New Morning Mercies, Paul David Tripp describes prayer as disarming.  It’s vulnerable and uncomfortable.  It expresses dependence.  As a member of Generation Z, this is an important practice for me, but initially a foreign one.  Every other cultural voice is shouting at me that my life as a student is about me and up to me to figure out.   So the act of prayer is disarming.  Asking for help is not something I’m good at.

This is why I have loved reading through the Pray for Me Student Prayer Guide.  It contains prayers that are already written out. I have prayed through biblical essentials like love, speech, faith, wisdom, etc.  These prayers are also helpful for me because they are real not robotic.  When I struggle to shake off my pride and ask for help, these prayers lead me into honesty with God and remind me that He is with me and for me, listening.

This past week I read through the daily prayers about love.  The beginning of the section references Matthew 22:37-40, the commandment to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  Most Christians know this verse, but I was struck by the last part about loving God with all of my mind.  I think most students my age would agree that our stage of life yields a lot of anxiety.  So many of my thoughts these days center around what college I may go to, what I will be after I graduate, whether or not I will get married one day and have a family, and the list goes on.  All of these desires can be good to ponder, but if I am dwelling too often on them when they are far off in the future, that is not loving God well with my mind.  God calls us to be good stewards of the present goodness He has given us.  Loving God with our minds then requires taking every thought captive as Paul admonishes in 2 Corinthians 10.  But this seems like a lot of work.  So it is!  God wants us to love him with our entire being, which includes our thought life. 

This brings me back to prayer.  We need it.  When we actually understand what it means to love God, we realize that we cannot do it without asking for help.  I love the way the prayer guide phrases this request for God’s help on page 46: “Help our hearts soak in your fear-killing and freedom-producing love like a brand new sponge.  Where our love is weak, strengthen it…For your glory and our good, in the loving name of Jesus, amen.”  Many of the prayers in the book end with “For your glory and our good,” a vital reminder that prayer is not simply this uncomfortable, begrudging task to check off but an act of worship that invites our dependence on a God who seeks our good. 

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