Prepositions of Prayer
It’s been a long time, but somewhere in those first few years of my education, I came across – prepositions. Prepositions, I was told, are the “hardware” of a language. Like fasteners and hinges and door knobs, sentences wouldn’t hang together without them. Good literature just doesn’t happen without prepositions. As a student, they were hard to figure out. As a literacy tutor and an EAL instructor on occasion, I’ve found that they can be a bit tough to teach as well.
But lately I have been thinking that a good preposition or two can be “the nails you hang ideas on”. This year (again), I have decided to hang my prayer life on a few well chosen ones. After beginning with appropriate praise, I am asking myself, “What do I want God to do THROUGH me?” What do I want God to do FOR me? What do I want God to do IN me?”
Through me? How do I want God to use me today? In some cases, these may be specific requests – “As I speak to this group of people, help use my words to make Your purposes clear.” In others, they may be general. “I am not sure all you intend to accomplish today, but I want to be a part of it.”
For me? These are the “our daily bread” requests. What are my personal needs and what needs am I asking God to meet for others as well? I may need a good friend when I don’t have one. I may need a job. I may need safety.
In me? These are what I might refer to as those “sanctifying” requests – those calls for character and integrity. When you look at the prayers of the Apostle Paul, by my calculations MOST of his prayers were of the IN variety – for himself and for those he ministered to. (1 Thess. 5:23, 24; 2 Thess. 1:3-12; 2 Thess. 3:9-11; Colossians 1:9-14; Ephesians 3:14-21). This is where I ask God to change me – inside – in the deepest places of my soul and personality.
So, the next time we bump into one another if I ask you, “How are you doing with your prepositions?” – you’ll know what I mean. Feel free to ask me the same.
(A version of this article first appeared in 2015 at www.whereistom.ca)