Convenience Prayer vs. Petitions of Fellowship


I was in the doctors office awaiting my ear check the other day, and picked up a National Geographic – February, 2007.  There’s a great article/interview about Francis Collins; a scientist who is among the smartest guys on the planet.  According to the author (John Horgan), he’s the leader of the Human Genome Project, and is a man who has been a devout Christian since 1978.  His position is the head of a multbillion-dollar research program aimed at understanding human nature and healing our innate disorders. 

But he’s a deep man of faith.  How can one so entrenched in modern science be SO FOR faith and Christ?  The fact is, he sees faith and science not as opponents, but as most brilliant Christian scholars do – a demonstration of God’s omniscience of which meager humans marvel.  The author of the article, John Horgan, is a skeptic (one who asks “how could there be a God” with no real open mind to the possiblity of God), or at best an agnostic (one who believe’s there could be, but may not be a God).  He asked Collins how God could allow miracles to happen to “some” people… he felt a spiratic miracle of God would merely show God as “capricious.”  The comment illicited Collins’ amazing quote below:

“I’m my own experience as a physician, I have not seen a miraculous healing, and I don’t expect to see one.  Also, prayer for me is not a way to manipulate God into doing what we want him to do.  Prayer for me is much more a sense of trying to get into fellowship with God.  I’m trying to figure out what I should be doing rather than telling Almighty God what he should be doing.  Look at the Lord’s Prayer.  it says, ‘thy will be done.’  It wasn’t, ‘Our Father who art in Heaven, please get me a parking space.”

Sounds like this man has been in the Psalms.  David never prayed for a parking space, and neither should we.  We must learn to commune with God in prayer… as His people, it is imperative to overcome the adversary.  Jesus is the perfect example of the balance between the human condition and spiritual wellness and communion with God, as is the greatest prayer of Jesus that is recorded – John 17. 

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4 thoughts on “Convenience Prayer vs. Petitions of Fellowship

  1. While the account of Christ’s prayer in the garden found in John 17 is beyond argument a beautiful and powerful prayer I would pose that Mark’s account in the fourteenth chapter was the more powerful of the two, in that Christ made a selfish request but subjected himself to the Father’s will. David frequently prayed in the same vein for strength to overcome his enemies,and often seems as if he is tagging on, “so your glory may be shown”. I do not think that our selfishness surprises or puts God off anymore than I would be surprised at a selfish request from my own children. I have come to understand that these requests are frequently more a request for my attention than the object of the request. in that light I think God is pleased when we seek him in faith regardless of what we are asking for, he did remind us that whatever you ask in my name believing will be done. Now, on the flipside, as we grow in maturity in Christ our prayers will likely become less and less personal in nature and more and more for the people and situations we see around us. It is this dying to self and taking up the cross that both Jesus and David shared and that we should seek to emulate.

  2. Thanks for the thoughts, Mark. The more I read, the more I realize how little we are like Jesus. He even asked “self serving” requests (or perhaps better described as personal need requests) in his prayer in the garden when he asked the Father to take the cup of suffering away – so I don’t mean we shouldn’t ask specific things of the Father in time of need. I’m simply saying that too often some of us tend to ASK, and not praise, prostrate, humble ourselves… like David often did. I wish I could have heard Jesus pray more often, don’t you? I’m sure it was a little different than what we do!

  3. I like the way that you closed out that thought. I would love to hear more of Jesus’ prayers. I think it would be extremely helpful. (This is the first time I have left a post, so I hope that I am doing this right.)

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