And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18
If you’ve been around the church for any length of time, you probably have heard a lot of praying. Prayers begin to sound very similar from one person to another. Prayer is supposed to be more honest. I’m not saying that our prayers are not genuine, I’m just saying prayer is meant to encompass a wider range of human emotion and expression. I know that public prayer often isn’t the place for that, but our private prayers should lean into that level of freedom. If you look at the kinds of prayers we see in the psalms we learn how honest our prayers can be.
Ephesians 6 tells us to pray with all kinds of prayers. It is an invitation to express our thoughts and emotions to God while we are on the unexpected journeys of life. It is much easier to “pray at all times” if we feel free to pray no matter how we are feeling at any given moment. If you are being tempted to sin, ask God about that. If you are angry, tell God why and ask him how you should feel about it. If you are disappointed with yourself, tell him. If you are afraid, tell him and ask him to make you brave.
Notice that Ephesians 6:18 doesn’t stop there. Paul challenges us to always be, “praying for all the Lord’s people.” As we pray with freedom and honesty, we must remember that we represent a single citizen in the kingdom of God. Our aim in prayer cannot be to insist that heaven shift the world to align with only our desires. While we are invited to be brutally honest with God, we are also aiming our prayers at the thriving of the kingdom of God.
Today, take some time to pray for someone. Speak to God honestly about and on behalf of that other person. If you don’t understand why something is going on with their life, ask God. Tell him how you feel about their situation. Then pray that God would align their circumstances with his Kingdom.
By Aaron Bjorklund