Prayer Is Worth Doing Badly | Influence Magazine


Over at InfluenceMagazine.com, I have an article on the Lord’s Prayer entitled, “Prayer Is Worth Doing Badly.” Here’s the introduction:

Several years ago, I went to lunch with friends after church. When our food arrived, all of them turned to me for a blessing on the meal. (Being called upon to pray in restaurants is a hazard of my profession.) Instead of praying myself, however, I looked to the woman on my right and said, “Tricia, will you say grace?”

Then I closed my eyes and bowed my head. Several awkward seconds of silence followed until Tricia let out what I thought was a perfectly adequate blessing. She disagreed — violently. After saying, “Amen!” she hit me on the arm and exclaimed, “Don’t ever do that again! I’ve never prayed in public in my life!”

Now, many Americans fear public speaking. Was that why Tricia was so upset? I doubt it. Her public only consisted of 10 or so friends, after all, and she spoke easily enough with them throughout the remainder of the lunch. No, I think Tricia feared praying in public because she feared saying something to God that was wrong or trite. She feared praying badly, in other words.

Many of us have the same fear. We do not pray as often as we ought to because we do not think our words are eloquent enough or our thoughts elevated enough or our spiritual state pure enough to talk to God.

Consequently, we need to remember G.K. Chesterton’s advice: “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” Even if we stumble to our knees and mumble through our requests, even if we talk to God inconsistently or incoherently or inconsiderately, it is better that we pray badly than that we not pray at all. Of course, it would be best if we prayed well, but that takes a lifetime of practice, and all of us must start somewhere. So why not start where we are, wherever that may be?

The most liberating truth of the spiritual life, you see, is that God does not want us to be perfect so that we can come to Him. Instead, He wants us to come to Him so that He can make us perfect. We think that God is interested in spiritually finished products: happy, healthy, holy Christians. And He is — but not only in them.

God also is interested in the process, in manufacturing saints out of sinners, believers out of skeptics, good prayers out of bad ones. That is why prayer is worth doing badly. Only by starting where we are can God take us to where He wants us to be.

Read the whole thing!

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What and How to Pray for Your Kids: A Review of ‘Praying Circles Around Your Children’ by Mark Batterson


Praying Circles Around Your Children Batterson, Mark. 2012. Praying Circles Around Your Children. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

My wife and I want to be the best possible mom and dad for our son. As Christians, we understand that this includes praying regularly for him. But what should we pray? And how should we pray? That is the topic of Mark Batterson’s excellent little book, Praying Circles Around Your Children.

Mark is pastor of National Community Church in Washington DC, a prolific author, and—full disclosure—a personal friend. Praying Circles is a spinoff of his longer book on prayer, The Circle Maker, which I also highly recommend reading. (See my interview with Mark about that book here.)

Praying Circles talks about five things we ought to do when we pray for our children:

  1. Circle the promises of God
  2. Make prayer lists
  3. Create prayer mantras
  4. Form prayer circles
  5. Pray through the Bible

Each short chapter includes relevant Bible teaching, on-point personal anecdotes, and eminently quotable advice.

The small group that my wife and I attend is currently reading Praying Circles. The book is provoking great discussion among us. Most of all, it’s inspiring us to pray more for our kids. And that’s good, for as Mark writes: “Prayer turns ordinary parents into prophets who shape the destinies of their children, grandchildren, and every generation that follows.”

Praying Circles Around Your Children is a great introduction to what and how to pray for your kids. I highly recommend it.

P.S. If you found this review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.

Daily Points for the Week of Prayer (January 6-12)


WOP_2013_Email_Header

January 6, 2013 kicks off the Week of Prayer across the Assemblies of God Fellowship. You can participate by using the points below to join in prayer with others across the nation each day.

Sunday, January 6:

“If my people…will humble themselves”
We repent of our spiritual indifference and commit to walk humbly before You.

Monday, January 7:

“If my people…will pray”
We commit to daily communion with You through prayer.

Tuesday, January 8:

“If my people…will seek my face”
We seek to experience the nearness and intimacy of Your presence.

Wednesday, January 9:

“If my people…will turn from their wicked ways”
We repent of ungodly influences that we have allowed in our lives.

Thursday, January 10:

“Then I will hear from heaven”
We praise You, O God, for attending to cries of our hearts.

Friday, January 11:

“I will forgive their sin”
We thank You for Your peace that comes with forgiveness.

Saturday, January 12:

“I will heal their land”
Thank you for pouring out Your healing upon Your people!

To help remind you to pray, download the 7:14 Prayer App for iPhone and iPad. (The app for Android is forthcoming.)

2 Chron 7 14And check out 2 Chronicles 7:14: a 28-Day Journey in Prayer by Dr. Jim Bradford.

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