Several years ago, at a conference a woman asked me to pray with her. She spent a few minutes telling me the details of what was happening in her life. We bowed our head and prayed. I prayed like I normally would, in an instance like this, and it went something along the lines of…
Lord, I come before you petitioning on behalf of ________. Lord, you know the burdens on her heart, her struggles, and her confusion. I pray that you would give ________ a clear and direct answer on the issue of ______________. Lord, I pray that your answer would be so clear to her that there would not be a seed of doubt in her mind that this is your will. Close the doors that are a waste of her time, open the ones that you want her to walk through. Make the path crystal clear, and give her strength and endurance to walk that path. Let your desires become her desires as she is your hands and feet in this world. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
After we were done, she said something to me that stuck. And, I must confess, I’ve heard it several times since. She responded by saying “I’ve never heard someone pray like that before.” She was caught off guard by my directness. She was accustomed to the prayers that sort of danced around it… you know the type… very generic and not specific.
Lord, give me clarity and discernment about your will for my life.
You’ve probably prayed this way yourself. I know have. Is it sincere? Sure, I really do what to know what God wants for my life. But, I don’t have to ask in generic ways, but rather approach Him with very specific questions and concerns.
I can’t claim ownership to the prayer I shared. Someone once prayed with me like that, and it was the first time I realized that I could just lay it out to God in such a way. Let me explain why I still pray like this, and encourage others to do so.
- God already knows the words in my heart and head, he doesn’t need me to sugar coat them when I pray. I want my mouth and my heart to be in agreement.
- God has seen me at my worst, I’m pretty sure He’s not going to be offended by the way I pray to Him… about His will… and my desire for obedience to Him.
- He created me as a very direct person. I’m certain that I’m not surprising him when I cut straight to the point even in prayer.
- God is pretty direct in His Word to me. I believe He is big enough and strong enough to handle a firm prayer.
Look at Moses conversation with God in Exodus 32.
The people had made a golden calf and were worshiping it. God had the right to be angry about this, and said to Moses to leave Him alone so that His anger may burn and He would destroy the people. Moses responds in verses 11 & 12…
But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. “LORD,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. (NIV)
That is a pretty direct conversation. Especially considering he was seeking the favor of the Lord. In many of the prayers of the Old Testament and New Testament, the petitions were pretty concise and direct.
This is not about trying to exercise my will over God’s will. I’m not commanding Him to give me the desires of my heart. Quite the contrary, it is a petition that asks for there to be no doubt about what God’s will is… an expression of our heart to be obedient to His will and call. It is a plea of a heart that doesn’t want to step out of alignment.