Do you want to know what you really look like to God? Pull out a piece of paper and make a list of the things you have prayed for most fervently. What’s there is the sort of person you are presenting yourself to God as. Who have you told God you are? Someone who wants things? Someone who wants people? Someone who wants comfort and ease? Someone who wants God himself? Who do you want God to know you as?
Let me be a blessing to you, Lord.
Be careful what you pray for – asking God for something is a bit like telling the genie in the lamp your wish. He may take you at your word.
Let my heart love and desire nothing and no one more than it loves and desires you, God.
Pray a prayer like that at your own risk – what if God needs to take away everything and everyone for you to be purged of your desire for anything other than him. Are you really willing to risk it? Maybe it would be safer to ask for help paying the mortgage.
Let your light shine through me, Lord. Make me like clear glass that your glory shines through. When people see me, let them know you more because you are shining through me.
Are you sure you want people to be reminded of God when they see you? Last time He traveled through this world they killed him, you know.
A while back, someone told me to look at the prayers I had said, so I really did write the prayers I remembered down on a sheet of paper. Oh. I see now. No wonder I have so many problems.
Sustain me so I can follow you, God.
If I could choose to have God answer my prayer for comfort and ease or for him to answer a prayer to sustain me so I can follow him, which would it be? There is a choice, you know. Following Christ means carrying your cross, not living in comfort and ease. So what will you pray for?
Let my whole life, my very being, be a reflection of your perfect love.
Ouch. That one’s gonna hurt.
Let me love people the way you love people.
Last summer, a man told me never to pray for patience because God will respond by sending you lots of chances to practice. He also told me never to pray to be able to love people the way God loves people for much the same reason. “What if I already prayed for that?” I asked. He looked at me oddly, shook his head and told me that was asking for the impossible. Oops. I told him it would explain how I came to meet him. He laughed.
You know what gets you into this sort of trouble? Worship. When you lift your eyes from the grubby miseries of this life, from your own pressing needs and the problems in need of fixing and simply look at God. It is the spiritual equivalent of love making. (“With my body I thee worship” – the old marriage vows used to say.) Gazing at the face of God, everything else falls away and you find yourself making wild, exuberant promises like a young and foolish lover certain he will always feel this way about his beloved. Be careful when you worship. It’s not entirely safe.
The essence of prayer does not consist in asking God for something but in opening our hearts to God, in speaking with Him, and living with Him in perpetual communion. Prayer is continual abandonment to God. Prayer does not mean asking God for all kinds of things we want; it is rather the desire for God Himself. ~ Sadhu Sundar
That quote is found in the memoir portion of my book The Upside Down World ~ A Book of Wisdom in Progress, btw. I explore some of the other prayers which have shaped my walk there. You should go buy a copy. All the cool kids are doing it!