Summary: Many prayers can make us wonder why prayer seems so weird. Sometimes prayer doesn’t make any sense. But our weird prayers help us to know God more and go deeper in our relationship with Him.
In my last post, I taught about how to handle God’s silence in our prayer lives. In this post, I want to address some of the weird prayers we pray that don’t make any sense to us.
I noticed over the years that I have prayed some weird prayers as I follow Christ. I think that since Jesus told us to “Ask anything in His name” (John 14:14), it gives me courage to ask Jesus for some weird things, like praying according to His will, asking for things we already know He will grant, or Him knowing what we ask before we ask it.
Why do we pray such strange prayers? Is there really a purpose to prayer if Jesus already knows what we’ll talk about? That’s what this post is all about, because I’m sure I’m not the only person who has asked about these weird prayers. Let’s dive in!
Why Pray God’s Will?
When I’ve been in prayer groups, or people have prayed for my healing, I have noticed people prayed, “If it’s your will…” It’s not bad to ask if what we are praying for is within God’s will. This is good to think as we pray. After all, nobody wants to pray outside of God’s will.
Why do we incorporate this phrase into many of our prayers? On some level, it’s very scriptural to pray within God’s will. For instance, Jesus promised that he would grant anything we ask, “In His name” (John 14:14). But we may not understand what exactly is “in Jesus’ name.”
James talks about presuming upon tomorrow and what we ask, and so he counsels us to make sure our requests, prayers, and plans with the thought, “If the Lord wills, we will do this or that” (). It is wise to make sure, as much as it is possible for us, that we plan and pray within the Lord’s will. But then we run into a problem. How do we know what we pray is in God’s will or agrees with Jesus’ name?
The Bible has told us some things within God’s will. God declared in the Bible that He desires none should perish, but that all should repent (2 Peter 3:9). God wants everyone to be saved. So it’s within His will to pray for the salvation of everyone. This doesn’t mean everyone will be saved, but that this is one of God’s desires in His will.
Second, Jesus said it is His will to heal the sick (Matthew 8:3). The leper asked Jesus if it was His will to heal. He had no question healing was within Jesus’ ability. But he questioned if Jesus desired for him to be healed. We can understand since Jesus healed almost everyone who came to Him for feeling that feeling is in God’s will.
So, why do we pray for things we know are in God’s will? This is a weird prayer because God’s already promised to answer it. When we pray God would lead our loved ones into salvation, or that He will help us grow in unity together to the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13), God has already promised to do this.
All I can gather from Scripture is that praying for God’s will to be accomplished in people’s lives is a prayer God loves to answer. It’s when we get outside of God’s will that we can’t be sure He will answer that prayer.
When we pray prayers that align with God’s Kingdom and purpose, we align ourselves with God. One purpose of prayer is to align ourselves with God and what He wants to do in our lives and the lives of people around us.
He Knows My Needs and Wants
Another weird thing about prayer is that God knows what we will ask before we ask it (Matthew 6:8). If God already knows my needs, isn’t it weird to pray for my needs before Him? What’s the point of asking if He already knows, and is already working toward answering my prayers?
God knows my heart. He knows my needs. So why do I have to pray about my needs? Jesus already said that I’m worth more to God than the sparrows (Luke 12:7). God takes care of my basic needs. Sometimes I feel weird asking God for things He already knows and already takes care of for me.
So, what’s the point of having requests for ourselves, and even others, in our prayers? I don’t really know the answer to this. I know the Lord likes to hear from His people. Taking the needs before Jesus acknowledges He is the only one able to answer our prayers.
Sometimes praying for our needs and the needs of others includes us acknowledging our needs before Him, so we can see Him provide for us. Praying such prayers to God sends us into His arms, seeking Him. It’s an act of faith to take our needs and requests before Him. we cannot presume to have our prayers answered when we don’t pray in faith (James 1:5-8).
Is Prayer a Futile Effort?
Every once in a while, I feel like my prayers are a futile effort. But then I remember the purpose for prayer. Sure, I can request things from God. But that’s not what prayer is all about. It’s only a part of prayer. Prayer is a place for me to meet with God.
Prayer is all about knowing God more, trusting God more, and surrendering more to God. It’s a place to speak to Him, to hear from Him, and to know Him more. It’s where my soul is laid bare before God, where I surrender more.
Whether God answers my prayer the way I want or not, I learn about Him. I hear from Him. There is nothing like spending time with the Creator of the universe. I can be a real with Him. I can pray weird prayers. And I know He doesn’t mind if I think a prayer is weird.
This is where I am fully known by God, and I know Him more every time I go before Him. While prayer requests are important to me, prayer is a place of so much more. How little we utilize this space with God. I encourage you to take advantage of face time with Almighty God.
Don’t just give Him your requests. Spend time to worship Him, to honor Him. Discover God’s power, glory, still small voice, and heaven-rending voice. Don’t just hear about God. Come to know Him in the deepest ways personal to you.
Prayer is not futile. But the way we use it may be. Explore the contours of prayer. Pray on the mountain of blessing with God. Pray in the valley of fear, darkness, and trembling. Pray in every place between. Seek God while He may be found. Utilize prayer for every season of life.
Imprecatory prayers may be the time God sees my bare soul and consoles me. Like the imprecatory Psalms, these prayers cry out for God to bring justice to my situation. I would never want anyone to hear these prayers. They are for God’s ears.
With the imprecatory prayers, I cry out for God’s justice, mercy, and for Him to intervene in ways that made me more human. When I feel violated, wronged, and cheated, I asked God to intervene with justice. I ask Him with all the emotion inside me to judge the wicked.
David prayed things like, “Break the teeth off in their mouths” (Psalm 58:6). These prayers on meant for anyone else. I pray out of my anger, hurt, and jealousy. Why do the wicked prosper? Where is God in my suffering? These are not philosophical questions. They are real-life cries.
David is best, and is the original writer of such times of pain, fear, and anger. Throughout his life, from shepherding to being king over Israel, David understood the anxieties of the soul. And he cried out to his best Friend. Unlike those around us who might react with like anger, fear, envy, and hurt, God listens to us and understands is more than we understand ourselves. He responds with kindness and love.
Praying for Your Enemies
Jesus commands us to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44). I’ve found I can pray for my enemies and still be angry and hateful toward them. Through prayer, Jesus comes alongside me and teaches me how to love the unlovable.
When we pray for our enemies, God teaches us how to see them with His eyes. He lets us vent, and then he teaches us how to love like He does. Through prayer, God calms us down and shows us a bit of His character and how He feels when others wronged Him, when we wrong Him.
We can use prayer to touch God’s heart. But God uses prayer to touch ours. Allow God to change you in the worst moments of your life. That’s what He designed prayer to be. When we don’t understand, feel around, want justice, and want to lash out in hate, we can go to God and find a Friend who understands.
When the Bible tells us, “In your anger do not sin” (), prayer is how we avoid sinning. God keeps it between us and Him. He listens to our complaints, anger, and vengeance. And He keeps us pure as we work out the details of our feelings with Him. We can try out to God in anger, and He lets us drawing on and reminds us of how He feels around us.
God takes our anger in our prayers until we surrender to Him and remember how He feels when we violate His laws. He lets us shake our fists at Him. And when we have nothing left to give, He gives us the love and compassion we need the most.
There’s nothing like prayer. There’s nothing like the kindness and compassion of our great God. He cares for us. He teaches us in those moments. It’s better to blow up on God than to take our enemies to the cleaners.
Be real with God in your prayers. Cry out to Him in every season of life. Let Him celebrate your wins with you, and envelop you in His presence in times of trouble and suffering. Get to know God through prayer. Go deeper than requests and use prayer to know Him and to be known.
Now that we have discussed some of the weirdest prayers you will ever pray as a disciple of Jesus, next we turn to talking about worship for a few posts.