You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied and praise the name of the LORD your God. Joel 2:26
Praise – The most common Hebrew word associated with prayer is palal. In most contexts, it means “praise.” Think about that for a minute. Hebrew prayer is eight times more likely to be about praise than about petition. Even when palal is not used for praise, it is used for intercession. That means if palal is not adoration for God than it is intervention for another.
Do your prayers have the same ratio as the Hebrew mindset? Are you eight times more likely to burst into praise or make intercession for someone else than you are to pray for your own needs? In the Gentile world, this ratio is rare indeed. Have you ever wondered why?
We live in a culture that is very much the product of a different worldview than those ancient Semitic people whom God chose as His vehicle of salvation. Roots of individualism and human achievement dominate our worldview. Sandwiched between political autonomy and personal freedom, we have come to believe that the center of the universe is me. This personally focused orientation expresses itself in all kinds of ways, even religious ones. We even pray with an “I, me, mine” attitude. Do you need some examples?
When did you last intercede for your enemies?
When did you last praise God for eight benefits before you made a single request?
When did you last thank Him for every single trouble you are experiencing?
When did you honor Him for every single success you enjoy?
When was the last time your church spent eight times more minutes praising Him than sticking to the order of service?
When was the last time you spent eight times as much time glorifying His name in your daily devotion than you did telling Him all your troubles? (And, by the way, isn’t it interesting that we call this time “devotion” when in fact it is usually nothing more than complaints and requests?)
Want to pray like Moses or Daniel or Elijah? Want to have fellowship with the Father like Paul or even Jesus? You’ll need a change of perspective. You’ll need a transformation of mind. You’ll need some adjustment in the prayer ratio. Right?