In my early days as a baby Christian, my prayer life was very simple. I just thanked God for blessing me or making my day go well. I didn’t do it all the time. I prayed when I felt like. When my ‘boyfriend’ at the time would do anything to hurt me, I would pray to God to take the pain away. My prayers were all about me, occasionally about my dad but it was all done leisurely.
When problem struck, my prayers changed. It was all “Lord come through for me”, “Bless me” and “Let there be a breakthrough.” Ah…I was always looking for a breakthrough in those years. And I prayed endlessly for my dad. That his business would recover; that we would become wealthy again. I didn’t pray every day but I prayed desperately at the hour of need. Because of the church I was part of, I also fasted and attended prayer meetings. Occasionally I interceded on behalf of people and prayed for lost souls but that was not my main concern. What’s my own with sinners when I couldn’t pay my school fees? That was the mentality I had.
God moved me from this phase and things became a little bit better but I was still hung up on my breakthrough prayers. The only thing was that this time, I was not preoccupied with praying for my dad and his business. I started praying for myself, “Increase me and enlarge my territory oh Lord! Bring me to my wealthy place.” Those were the kinds of prayers I would pray. In church, when the prayer points were raised, I would pray for my country and other people but my main focus was still myself. God just had to bless me by fire by force.
Now God has moved me from several phases since that time and I have found that the tone of my prayer has drastically changed. Whereas I used to pray for God to bless me so that I could enjoy the good things of life, I am praying that He would bless me so that I can be a blessing to others. I don’t want to be blessed with money and then I’d spend that money on myself and my family alone. I want to be able to use that money to meet other people’s needs; pay someone’s school fees, rent a house for someone, buy food for someone to eat, give someone something they desperately need. Over the years God has used different things to show me that it is not about me. My ministry is not for me but for the world. I now carry a burden to see every unsaved soul come to Christ. I spend time in my personal prayer interceding for people. It pains me to see people struggling. I cannot be alive and my neighbour will be hungry. What kind of Christian will I be if that should happen?
I was listening to a message by my Senior Pastor and he said the men and women from the early Church will find the 21st century church strange because what a lot of us are after is “making it”. The early Church was preoccupied with preaching the Gospel so that lost souls could be saved. We on the other hand are preoccupied with amassing all the blessings in the world in the name of prosperity. I have nothing against living the good life. In fact I am going to live the good life; travel round the world in first class and all that. But that cannot be the basis of your salvation. Are you trying to tell me that Jesus went through all that pain and suffering on the cross just so that we can have the best things in life here on earth and call it as day? No way! His death on the cross is for something more than that.
What kind of things do you pray about? Are you so consumed with me, myself and I that you forget to pray for the unsaved? Have you prayed for that Church member who has been going through great challenges? Have you asked God to give you the courage to preach the Gospel to that colleague of yours? I am scared for Christians today. A lot of us are not focused on why we are here. The world and its temptations are distracting us.
We are ambassadors of Christ and everything we do should reflect Christ. Study the prayers Jesus said when He was alive. They were never selfish prayers. Yet, He did not lack anything while He was alive. Prioritise the kingdom of God in your prayers. Yes pray for yourself and your family. It’s important but beyond that, also pray for the body of Christ. Pray that the Gospel will advance into corners of the world buried in darkness. Pray selfless prayers. Stop all the constant “Me, me, me” prayers. It’s time to change your prayer tone.