March 02, 2017

Prayer of the Upright

I have a friend who needs to make a life altering decision and she asked people to pray that she make the right choice. I’m struggling with the request because all indications are that she has already made the decision. At first blush her lack of sincerity seems to make a mockery out of the prayers offered on her behalf. However, the prayers themselves, misguided or not, may not be as important to God as are those who are offering the prayers. “The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him” (Proverbs 15:8 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----When overcoming my manic depression, I learned the significance of verb tense. I know it seems an odd idea. But “I am emotionally sick” applied to the beginning of my adventure. As I discovered and practiced healthy mental habits, I had at least one foot out of emotional sickness, because the processes of emotional health had been set into motion. However, my subconscious serving its part into my ongoing stream of consciousness was yet laden with memories and effects of memories of emotional sickness. Therefore, with the processes of emotional health begun, “I am emotionally sick” was no longer a valid statement. But with the continued influence of a damaged sub-conscious still ongoing, neither could I say, “I was emotionally sick.” The effects of having been emotionally sick were yet real. So, my new statement of position became, “I have been emotionally sick.” That statement duly acknowledged both the end of the sick processes and the continuing presence of the emotional sickness’ lingering effects. Eventually those effects were diminished enough by the crowding in of new, healthy effects, that my statement had to become, “I had been emotionally sick.” Now, after many years of continued crowding out of those ill effects until they are all but entirely gone, I state, “I was once emotionally sick,” or even boldly and with all thanks to God, “I am emotionally healthy.”
-----Mental dealings with reality are not simple. Decision making is complicated. And formulating the complicated realities of it at any point in its process into a verbalized statement, or in this case, request, can utterly fail to communicate all the complexities involved. Then the anyone hearing the request goes away with paltry evidence representing a complicated situation.
-----Maybe your friend has had a string of premeditated determination strung through her efforts for a decision from their very beginning. If so, then maybe her non-verbalized meaning about the nature of the prayer she needed was a request that God steer her to the correct decision regardless of her bias. And maybe not. Maybe her unexpressed ambition is for God to validate the decision she pre-chose, if she did pre-choose one.
-----At any rate, we know the nature of the prayer needed. Jesus told us what that nature is for all prayer. In that our first request of any prayer is for the coming of His kingdom, the nature of our request regarding anything we pray for is for that thing’s realization to be completely congruent with the holy nature of His kingdom. In other words, pray that God will correct and direct her mind to the decision that is closest to being made of kingdom type concepts and stuff. That will be the kind of stuff that is of His will. Maybe her mind is pre-made. But maybe it can be re-made. And maybe we don’t know. The further our knowledge is from the complexities of a situation, the more generalized our prayers must be. Yet, even the most general prayer must fit the “…kingdom come…will be done…” pattern Jesus taught.

Love you all,
Steve Corey