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Christian Blog Prayer

Safe Prayers are Dangerous

With thanks to God and Gary Fultz.

The Altar, St.Martin Of Tours, West Coker by Jeanette Rendell is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

Imagine you visit a church for their mid-week prayer service. Walking in the front door you notice the spacious sanctuary, dark and empty. Down one hall, there’s light coming from an open door. You hear the unmistakeable sound of people praying.

Entering the smallish room, you are surprised to find only a handful of the church’s faithful. And what are they praying for? You read the prayer requests on the white board: “Bob has cancer. Theresa had a heart attack. Deacon Sam is under hospice care.

“This is well and good,” you say to yourself. “But is that all?

Fellow blogger Gary Fultz commented on one of my recent posts, “Safe prayers are dangerous.” Immediately, I thought of how the corporate prayer ministries of many churches are a mile wide and an inch deep.

Shallow prayers are relatively “safe,”after all. I mean, who could be offended by them? But this also makes them dangerous. Because if it’s all we do, are we truly covering God’s Kingdom work?


WAIT. Hold the presses! I read a first draft of this post to my wife and she said, “Sweetheart, you’ve described a problem but offer no solution. “Well, uh….,” that’s me talking.

“So, how do YOU pray?” she asked. (Please imagine the sound of crickets chirping).🦗🦗🦗 I had no immediate response. Most of my prayers aren’t all that deep, either.

“Ok, how did Jesus pray?” she followed. 🦗🦗🦗 Despite being a former seminarian, I drew an almost complete blank. All that came to mind was The Lord’s Prayer, from Matthew 6:9-13. Well, it was a good start.

A little biblical digging revealed that Jesus said prayers of adoration, like when He praised God for revealing Himself to ordinary people (Matthew 11:25-27).

Christ also offered up prayers of intercession, like His High Priestly Prayer (John 17:1-26). Here, He prays for Himself–that He will complete His mission–and for His followers–that they will live in complete unity. Why? So that the world will know God sent Him.

Lastly, Jesus said prayers of thanksgiving, like when he thanked God for hearing His prayer to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11: 41.42). This is by no means an exhaustive list. Perhaps you can add to it?

Oops, I’ve rambled on for over 400 words. That’s not like me! I’m usually “Hemingway like” in my succinctness. Perhaps the following scripture sums up what I hope to say, after all.

For my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.

Isaiah 56:7b (NASB)

Thank you for reading. 🙏❤️ prayers and love

By davidsdailydose

I'm just a regular guy who was
tempted to lose all hope but did not. It was God who made the difference.

49 replies on “Safe Prayers are Dangerous”

I think the deepest prayer sessions I have had are with people with whom I have the deepest relationship. To go deep in prayer with others, there should to be an element of trust — that sharing your struggles won’t turn into gossip and judging.

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Years ago I was taught the ACTS way of praying. Begin with Adoration praising God. Then move into Confession getting your heart right with God. Move into a time of Thanksgiving for all God has done and will do. Then close with your Supplication.
Unfortunately, we tend to start with Supplications and rarely move past it.

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It is what is in our heart and spirit that catches God’s attention as Jesus said-God is looking for those who worship in spirit and in truth. Our prayer lives are part of our worship. A deeply heart felt prayer even though short can avail much.

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Writing a few posts about prayer has encouraged me to do some soul searching too. It’s easier to spot a problem than suggest a solution.

Hey, did you read my post a couple of weeks back about my CPA’s sheep dog? He keep watch over a whole group of young farm animals.

Thank you for your input. God Bless.

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Sometimes those cricket chirping moments are where we pause and God can speak to our hearts. Mine come with the doe in the headlights look too. Just a month ago I started going to my church on Wed. mornings where about 4 to 5 of us gather to pray. It is amazing how Holy Spirit leads us on what to pray about. It has made me more mindful as I hear stories on the news or in my community, so I can pray more specifically. It has really be eye opening and soul opening. Thanks brother!

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Thank you for encouraging words, Manu. The comments on this post encouraged me to look more closely at my own commitment to prayer. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the Holy Spirit’s role. Thank you again for reading and sharing. God’s best to you!

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David, your post really made me think. I agree that there is nothing wrong in praying for those in need and we should but does our prayer extend beyond that. Praying for God to be glorified in the midst of a trial rather than only focusing on the trial being removed. You have definitely asked for us all to think deeper.
Blessings to you and you lovely wife.

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Yes indeed, Jo! Many of the commenters added significantly to the discussion—taking my original thoughts and expanding them. One, in particular, said what I wanted to say better than I did!

How true it is that the attitude of our hearts (in prayer) matters most. Thank you for reading and sharing. God Bless!

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I didn’t set out to follow a theme, but it certainly turned out that way, brother. I am familiar with the works of E.M. Bounds. If I recall correctly he was a chaplain during the American Civil War. I’ve read part of his complete works on prayer. Now, it’s time to go back and read them again—this time all the way through. As you see, I was convicted —halfway through my prayer—to examine my own conversations with the Lord. Thank you for stopping by, brother.🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

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I can see a great theme developing in your recent posts, one that should challenge every believer. There are times when I am concerned by prayers, both my own and of others; all too often we prattle off a recognised formula from the mind when our Father longs to hear from our heart. I would venture to say that twenty words from a broken heart will achieve more than a hundred pretty words. A great read on prayer that I read frequently is The Complete Works of E.M. Bounds on Prayer, I would recommend it highly to any believer.

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Thank you for adding so many valuable thoughts to the discussion. Prayer was indeed a 24/7 experience for Christ, and also for many of His closest followers—then and now. The “pray without ceasing” scripture, Simply B shared, comes to mind. Blessings! Again, thank you for sharing.

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I suppose typical prayers vary. I chose to focus on one facet for this post. Prayer is very personal. It’s like opening Pandora’s Box to even discuss it. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, Crystal. I suspect thankful prayers, or all depths, are always welcomed by God.

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“He hears whatever we say to Him.” This is so right and refreshing, Simply B. Perhaps it’s not so much what we say to Him as it is the condition of our hearts. The passage from 1 Thessalonians is a perfect! Thank you, and God Bless.

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Thank you David for over 400 wonderfully encouraging words in your post. 🙂 Aren’t you relieved God doesn’t limit our word count? I know I am. We can’t have too few or too many. And the scripture in I Thess 5 that mentions “pray without ceasing”? Some days in my experience it’s been off and on, over and over, just three words “Help Me Jesus”. Some days are like that. He hears whatever we say to him.

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My most typical prayer is the thanksgiving prayer and not too deep. I’m in a current phase of “Help me!” or “Why?” Last Sunday at church, the sermon was on doubt and how you can’t have doubt without faith—examples throughout the Bible. I take comfort in that.

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Jesus prayed all night while it was dark. He also listened to what his Father said and then did it. He asked his close disciples to pray with him in the garden before his betrayal. He agonized in prayer and sweat blood, due to his travailing prayer. Prayer for Jesus was his lifestyle, not a short period of time every day. When he multiplied the bread, he lifted it up, said a few words and it multiplied. He walked in union with his Father and doing his will. We have the Holy Spirit and need his assistance in prayer. Blessings.

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Praying for sick people is much more than praying for a recovery. My comments are meant to add to the discussion, nothing more. I always have to work on myself, David. Fortunately, as long as we are alive, we are not finished products! I hope you enjoy your day, too!

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David, you’ve cut to the heart of the problem and offered the best solution- go to the scriptures. I’ve gotten to the point now where I’m not comfortable praying for someone or a situation unless there is a scripture to stand on. Sometimes a scripture pops to mind but more often than not I find myself sitting with my Bible and asking the Lord to show me how to pray. Only in praying the scripture do I know with confidence that I’m praying God’s will. Without the scripture, I feel my prayers are like wisps of breath that are simply blown away because they are “shallow.”

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The Lord’s Prayer is a great template to follow. I’m glad it is there, too. Someone once said, “Prayer is simply spending time with someone you love.” Thank you for sharing. God’s best to you.

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Thank you, Betty. You live a well thought out and purposeful life. I don’t want to come across like I’m judging you (or anyone else) for the depth of their prayers. Like I said, I realized I need to work on myself half-way through this post. Thank you for sharing. As you say, enjoy your day!

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It’s true that we are to bring all our concerns to God; but I’ve often thought that in presenting our requests for healing we often forget so many other types of concern (because we are too shy … or embarrassed … or whatever to share them publicly) and we are short on thanksgiving and adoration. The Lord’s prayer is such a useful template on how to pray. I’m so glad it’s there in the Bible.

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Thank you for this encouragement! The body of Christ as a whole needs to pray bolder prayers (myself included). Thank you for the nudge! (By the way, there is a book called “Dangerous Prayers” by Craig Groeschel that I loved and probably need to read again!) Blessings, my friend!

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Well David, you dipped our prayer pen in the ink bottle. Poised…
I wonder, if we knew what we will know (on levels of importance) 100 years from now…what would we have wanted our prayers to be?
It is no small thing to pray for the urgent but forget the important.

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You have just put your finger on the reason the western church is so weak and ineffective. It’s because we are so worldly. We are not preoccupied with the kingdom, but instead we are preoccupied with the same concerns (in the main) as our unbelieving neighbors – health, avoiding suffering, employment, material needs, world hunger, world peace, etc., with prayers for salvation of others thrown in as just one more ingredient.

It is unusual for me to hear others pray for the Lord to be glorified even at the cost of their own suffering. I expect to hear a believer pray for healing of their disease, but it would be a surprise to instead hear a believer pray that they would simply be granted the spiritual victory (of unwavering trust in the face of disease) and that the Lord would be glorified in their suffering. This is as true of me as it is of others that I pray with. To my shame.

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I, quite frequently, say the “Our Father” prayer, focusing on each phrase and what it means. I often pray for people who are sick; it is a heavy cross to bear. These days I am praying for Ukraine.

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Thank you, G.W. I love your short poem about prayer! We don’t always know (or choose) to pray as we ought, but we should keep trying. Perhaps this is why the Apostle Paul said “The Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that are too deep for words.” Thank you for sharing, brother! God Bless.

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Good morning, David. Thought I’d share something I told on myself a while back. Perhaps a few others may relate? About personal prayer. Blessings to you!

He Cannot pray as he would,

He cannot pray as he should,

Stand he shall as he prays in the dell,

And pray as he can as well.

Yet, pray he will, and he should.

~G.W.

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Yes, she is, Barb! I’ve learned the hard way to read everything I write to her first. She has the spiritual gift of discernment. I am a blessed guy!

I’m glad what I wanted to say came through in the right way. I’m not saying prayers for the sick are unimportant. It just feels one sided— only praying the sick saints out of heaven.

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Your wife is a wise woman.

My friend, safe prayers are dangerous because they are shallow & may never get to the heart of the matter. We must learn to pray bold, earth shaking prayers if we are ever to effectively REAL CHANGE.

Prayer services like the one you described can also be called “organ recitals”. Sure, we need to pray for the physical needs of others….BUT the condition of their soul and their relationships is far more important!

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