Are your prayers boring?
What do you want? A better sex life? More recognition? A new computer? Higher pay? Do you want a bigger church, a PhD, or good grades for your children? Do you want to lose weight? But aren’t these unworthy requests? Didn’t James warn us that God won’t answer our prayers if we ask from selfish motives (Jas 4:3)? And so, most Christians hold back in their prayers. We don’t tell God what we really want. We assume that our desires are too private, or too selfish for our Father to handle—they feel like unworthy subjects to discuss in God’s presence.
Jesus once posed a hypothetical question to his disciples: “What fathers among you, if your son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? (Lk 11:11-12)” His point was that God is a good Father and will respond generously to his children when they pray. He takes responsibility for the well-being of his children. And the more we believe this, the more fervent and fruitful our prayers will be.
Imagine you’re a dad. Your daughter declares her love for all things equestrian and asks for a horse farm. Will you condemn her for such an extravagant wish? No!— she’s made herself vulnerable to you. Her request is an entrance to a deeper relationship. You can now ask, “My dear daughter, why do you want a horse farm? How do you hope your life will change as a result?” A good father will not disparage his child’s desires, but will use the opportunity to adjust and shape their vision of the good life.
God is a good and loving father. If we accidently ask for a scorpion, he will not condemn us. Instead, he will interact with our desires and transform them by his Spirit (Lk 11:13). In A Praying Life, Paul Miller says, “God delights in giving his children good gifts… but he wants to be part of all the decisions we make. He wants our material needs to draw us into our soul needs.”
So, if your prayer life is boring, ask God for what you want.