Pray Like You Mean It

And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. | Mark 5:21-24 

Prayer. It’s not a thoughtless action. It’s not an action void of emotion. It’s not a grown-up version of a Christmas list. But we often act like it is. How many times have we muttered some phrases to God to fulfill our “obligations” to Him? How many times have we thrown a string of words at Him with hearts that are disengaged and disconnected? How many times have we simply listed out all our demands – or, as we like to call them, our “desires,” our “hopes” – without any consideration for the Lord’s leading? 

In Mark 5:21-43, we read about a ruler of the synagogue named Jairus. Did you happen to catch the way this man petitioned Jesus (v.22-23)? We read that Jairus fell at the feet of Jesus and implored Him earnestly on behalf of his daughter.

Reading this passage got me thinking: How do I petition the Lord? How do I ask for His intervening in my life? DO I even seek His intervening in the first place? In what state of heart and mind do I approach the throne of grace?

If it is with anything less than confident submission to His will, then I’m doing it wrong.

Confident submission. What does that mean? What does that look like? It’s faith in yielding. It’s belief without knowing. It’s trust in the surrender. Without both components (faith + surrender), we will miss IT – we will miss the daily miracles He performs on our behalf, we will miss His mighty workings in our lives, we will miss the opportunities He so meticulously purposed for us. Sure, they may still happen – but will we notice them? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss IT.

I don’t want to miss HIM.

So how do I petition the Lord? In confident submission to Him, fully trusting that He will truly work all things together for my good and His glory (Romans 8:28).

How do I ask for His intervening in my life? Not simply by keeping my desires, my “wisdom,” my plans at the bottom half of the stack. No, it’s a little more difficult than that. I ask for His intervening in my life by erasing my desires, deleting my wisdom, wiping the slate of my plans squeaky clean so that He can write His desires, His plans upon the clean slate of my heart.

Reflect on how Jairus asked for the Lord’s intervening. Do we “implore Him earnestly?” Do we plead for His intervening? Do we beg for His interceding? In taking our needs to the Lord in prayer, do our tears, our bruised knees, our wrenching hearts prove our earnest desire for His rescue?

I think not. I don’t think we pray about our needs, our desires as much as we talk about them. And if we do pray about them, how do we pray about them? Is it emotionless? Thoughtless? Out of habit? We claim to deeply yearn for things. We insist that we must have certain things. Yet we pray so non-consequentially about them. Jairus didn’t do that. Instead, he threw himself at Jesus’ feet and implored the Lord earnestly because he believed it could be consequential. In fact, he was hoping it would be consequential.

If we don’t really care enough about something to throw ourselves at the feet of Jesus and implore Him earnestly about them, then maybe we should just keep quiet. Empty, thoughtless words from a disengaged, faithless, obligated heart don’t matter to Him. And if we are approaching Him in such a way, it clearly doesn’t matter much to us either.

What should the condition of my heart and mind be when I approach the throne of grace? That of joyful surrender. When I seek the Lord’s will, do I really desire it? Or am I just saying I do in order to get my prayers as close to God’s ears as possible? If I am not seeking His will, I will miss what He is doing.

Jairus was blessed enough to have his petition answered. What’s more, he was blessed enough to see the hand of God work mightily. Had he not petitioned the Lord, what would have happened? Had he not approached Jesus with such humility, faith, and surrender, what would have happened? Jairus implored the Lord earnestly. And guess what? The Lord went with Jairus and astounded everyone when the little girl was brought back to life.

In falling at the feet of Jesus, in imploring the Lord so earnestly, Jairus found himself in the front row of Jesus’ miraculous working. He experienced firsthand the power of Christ to save.

When we approach the throne of grace, we must do so boldly (Hebrews 4:16). We must follow Jairus’ example, falling at the feet of Jesus and imploring Him earnestly for His leading, His will, His rescue. In doing so, we will set ourselves up to see the Lord’s hand in our lives, leading us to worship Him with thankful hearts strengthened in faith.

Friends, let’s pray like we mean it and mean what we pray, all the while seeking and surrendering to His will with the confidence that He will indeed work it all out for the absolute best. Remember:

His will, not ours. 

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