Yesterday at church, my favorite preacher shared a message from Paul’s letter in Philippians. He particularly focused on this verse:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
– Philippians 4:6
This is a verse that I am incredibly familiar with. The truth from it that Jason highlighted, however, was brand new to me. He talked about the word “present” and how it changes the way we pray to God and ask things of Him. Many of us, he shared, tick items off a want list in prayer. He further challenged, though, that if we are honest with ourselves, we’d find that we’re actually just praying from a purely surface place.
I had never heard this term, either, but the more Jason explained it, the bigger my “Oh!” became. Surface prayers are basically prayers prayed at a surface level, or out of our places that we have not truly explored or confessed. Jason challenged us to ask “Why?” after we pray for things. So instead of just saying, “God, please protect my children,” we take a moment to ask, “Why am I asking this?” For many of us, we have deep-rooted fears in regards to our children’s safety that can come out of some incredibly emotional places, but we don’t think about praying for that. Instead, we just stick with panicked and repeated cries of, “God, please protect my children.”
The idea of presenting your requests means to ask God to heal you as a whole. Instead of just getting the things we want from Him, it’s better to let Him get to the root of our prayers. When we receive healing on that deeper level, we’ll start to see our immediate prayer needs change, too. We’ll no longer pray prayers that merely scratch the surface, but rather, have open, transparent honesty before God. Perhaps, then, we’ll start getting more than just answered prayers, but changed lives, as well.