What am I Praying for?

Written by Daniel Tidwell : February 6, 2008

I’m not really asking what it is that I am petitioning God for. Instead, I am asking about the purpose of prayer.

I have long wondered how prayer works in my life. What is prayer all about? A new lens that I am trying to see through is how prayer is an opportunity for me to imaginatively lean into a new way of being in Christ.

This is a list that I started which I hope to spend some time mulling over.

1 Prayer begins to bring me into the present in my relationship with God. By talking with God about the world around me, I begin to honestly enter into the space of what is going on in the world around me and inviting God to begin to shape in me a new way of seeing and being within the world.

2 In praying, I begin to be still in a chaotic world, allowing myself to stop moving in the rhythm of an empire that is at odds with the kingdom of God. By slowing down and encountering God, I am shaped into person who can re-enter empire with a renewed sense of who I am truly created to be in Jesus Christ.

3 In prayer the weeds of empire are uprooted and untangled from their place of prominence in my heart.

4 Prayer then becomes the seedbed in which God and I co-create and scatter the seeds of imagination and hope that grow up in action, strength, creativity, and love that can be offered as I live into the kingdom of God in my daily life.

5 Prayer—particularly prayer in community—leads me beyond myself and into the realm of being shaped together in communion with God in Christ, and in the Spirit of God at work in our community.

6 Prayer is a place of mourning the pain, shame, death, and imprisionment of an empire of sin in a way that gives birth to the desperate, insane, and improbable hope of new life in the kingdom of Jesus among us.

These are a few of the ways that I see the potential for prayer to shape me. I’d love to hear more from others reflecting on these ideas, pushing back against them, and offering other ideas that you have. I grew up hearing that prayer was a weapon for spiritual warfare. Maybe that is true in the very different sense that it can be a subversive action of birthing the Kingdom of God.


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3 Responses to “What am I Praying for?”

  1. PB on February 7th, 2008 6:33 pm

    Great stuff bro. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Mark Van Steenwyk on February 7th, 2008 6:41 pm

    Hey Daniel, I just wrote a short article about the Lord’s Prayer. I think prayer can be subversive…it can turn our expectations and hopes inside out as we, with vulnerability before God, slowly put aside our agenda.

    I think point #2 is powerful. I feel so caught up in all the rhythms of American life; I can see no other way to adjust myself to God’s gracious rhythms apart from prayer. And silence. Isn’t this what Lent is supposed to be about? Yet we are caught up in campaigning.

  3. daniel.t on February 7th, 2008 10:16 pm

    yeah. I really want to explore the new rhythms of life idea. Maybe more to come on that one later….


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