Can you pray like that?

Faith & Inspiration

On Sunday our pastor told us that Moses, who perhaps had more intimate communion with God than any man who ever lived, except Jesus, was not content with a special audience on Mount Sinai while the trembling mountain was cordoned off to the rest of the Israelites. A taste of God had given him a craving for more. He asked, “Please show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18).

Pastor Davis turned to the congregation: “Can you pray like that?”

It was a startling question. I would venture to say that it has not occurred to most of us to pray like that. How many, while saying grace, or kneeling at the foot of our beds, or at the Saturday ladies’ prayer meeting, have uttered something so bold?

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One begins to notice, upon reflection, that the prayers of an ingrown community tend to become increasingly similar. We confess our repeated lapses, we say that we expect to keep sinning because we are sinners but hope for continued forgiveness, we request help with the mission team fundraising. Now and then a newcomer will pass through our midst (I remember a woman from Africa) who prays like a blast of fresh air, with boldness and expectations that makes us bite our fingernails.

“Can you pray like that?” I do not think his question was rhetorical, with the proper answer, “No.” It seemed to me he was not making the point that Moses was a “special case.” There was pleading in his tone, as if the notion had only just come to him in the course of his study, and he needed to unburden what the Spirit put on his heart.

I recently read something David prayed:

“I will praise you with an upright heart when I learn your righteous rules” (Psalm 119:7).

Can I pray like that?

“I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless” (Psalm 101:2-3).

Can I pray like that?

What if we studied Scripture to imitate the praying of great men of God (1 Corinthians 4:16; 11:1)? Not to turn their fresh prayers into our clichés, but to see if we can learn where we have whittled down our faith and expectations?

Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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