Perhaps the most telling sign of the strength of a person’s walk with God is found in his prayer life. It is very telling what you think about God by what you are praying for. My guess is if one was to take a survey of the prayer life average Christian in America one would find that most if not all of their prayers revolve around acquiring the “American Dream” of comfort. Most of our are prayers involve asking God for a new job, a bigger house, physical health, and so on. While on the surface there is nothing wrong praying for things like this, at the root often our prayers are based on the assumption that God is here to serve us and that our best life is now and not in eternity.
However, if we did a survey of the average Christian in places of persecution their prayer life would be much different. One of the most-prayed prayers in these areas is for “stronger backs”. At first we hear that prayer and we think, “See they are no different”. We figure they must have some type of physical aliment and are asking God to relieve their back pain. However, our immediate assumption could not be further from the truth. The average persecuted Christian is praying that God would give them “stronger backs” so they can persevere through the pain whether it be physical, emotional, and mental. They are not praying that God would not take away the persecution but that they would be found faithful through the persecution. Their prayer life is based on the assumption that they are to serve God no matter what the cost, and their best life will be with Christ in eternity.
In the land of luxury and comfort that we call home, our view of God has become that of a cosmic Santa Claus. God is there for the sole reason of blessing us with material and temporal blessings, and when we do not get what we want we pout. Our greatest desire is for a comfortable and peaceful life. We want all the riches promised us in the next life now and forget the mission God gave us to be lived out in the here and now.
We need to be reminded of the fact that we are the ones to serve God; we are the ones to be a blessing to others; we are the ones who are to be consumed by God’s mission of telling the world of the good news of Jesus.
What if our prayer life revolved around these things? What if we prayed that God would bless us with a new job only if it would allow us to bless others? What if we prayed for physical healing only if God would be glorified through it? What if we prayed God would give us courage to spread the gospel even if it meant some type of persecution? What if we prayed that God would give us a heart that loved Jesus more than any comfort of this world?
Next time you come to prayer, whether it is your individual prayer time or a prayer time at church, think about your brothers and sisters throughout the world who are praying for “stronger backs”. Think about the mission they are consumed by. Think about Jesus and all of the pain he endured in his life and death so that you might have eternal life. Put to death this dream of comfort, and after doing that first, then pray.
The God of the universe is so much more than a cosmic Santa Claus, and the mission he gave us in this life is so much greater then living the American Dream of comfort. May God give us “stronger backs” and a heavenly mindset. May our prayer life be grounded in the reality who God is. May God help us!