Don’t “Just” Pray
I have been developing a new pet peeve over the past month, and I’ve been noticing it in myself more than anyone else. God has been convicting me during my prayers, and anytime I catch myself saying this word, it’s like nails on a chalkboard.
I’m talking about the word “just”. Might you have the same bad habit that I do?
“God we ask you to just bless this service…”
“Lord, just come and have your way with us…”
“Jesus, we just surrender everything to you right now…”
I’ll tell you what, though: there’s is nothing “just” about prayer! And there is nothing mere about God’s blessing, the Holy Spirit’s presence, or a person surrendering to grace.
I know for me, and I’m sure many others, the word “just” becomes a filler for when my mind is trying to catch up to my heart in prayer. But such a bad habit has infused such a bad practical theology into my own prayer life, especially when praying aloud with and for other people.
I don’t ever want God to “just” do something, to “simply” or “only” move in a single and confined way. Absolutely not! I want God to blow my little human prayer out of the water! To overwhelm any puny expectation I might have! To be far more than I could ever hope or dream!
Using the word “just” shrinks our prayers. It puts an unnecessary on focus on the lowest common denominator of what God can and might do. When we pray the word “just”, it almost feels like a consolation prize – “well God, would you just do this?”
Have you ever been convicted of how small a prayer you pray? I mean, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus, and He partners with us in prayer, and the best I can pray for is… this? My dreams are so small; my hope is so narrow… God help me to dream big, hope big, and pray big!
Jesus teaches us to pray boldly, with confidence, and with authority, not with “justs”. For instance, in John 14, Jesus says:
“Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do… Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
So with such a promise that God will answer our prayers because of our relationship with Jesus, how can we pray with just’s and only’s? Rather, like the author of Hebrews implores us, “let us then with confidence draw near to throne of grace” and present our requests to God!
I want to make it a practice to rid the word “just” from my prayer vocabulary. It might take some time to break out of the bad habits that I’ve formed, and it may take some discipline to think before I speak in prayer. But I never want to “just” pray for something again.
I want my prayers to be bold. I want to have BIG prayers:
Prayers that truly take faith even to think, let alone speak.
Prayers that other people hear and say “wow that’s gutsy!”
Prayers that God hears and responds “now that’s a big prayer!
I want to stop putting God in a box, and stop praying inside my own realm of possibility. I want to pray for global revival, for supernatural healing and miracles with real faith, for God to move in grandiose powerful ways. I want to pray, not for hundreds, not even thousands, but for millions and billions of people to experience the grace of God in this day and to be swept into His kingdom.
Jesus increase my faith to pray and the capacity of my heart to hope and dream bigger than my mind can imagine.
About the Author
Kevin Cook is a 4th year student at Asbury Theological Seminary and an Aspirant for Ordination in the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). After graduating, Kevin hopes to plant a contemporary three-streams Anglican Church. He and his wife Nicole attend Wilmore Anglican Church in Kentucky.
Kevin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Master of Business Administration from Florida State University. Kevin enjoys playing music and leading worship, reading fiction and spiritual classics, drinking coffee, and spending time with family and friends.
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