I think I’m praying wrong

By: Carl Bliss

You do not have in mind the things of God, but merely human concerns. – Mark 8:33

The funny thing about the Bible; you can read a story all your life, and still get a new message from what you read. That happened to me this week as I went through Mark 8. 

There is a moment when Jesus is, very clearly, telling his disciples what his death and resurrection would look like. Peter, the fairly outspoken disciple whose words seem to spill out faster than is mind can process them, “rebukes” Jesus for the conversation. I’m not sure if the rebuke was because Jesus was speaking so bluntly, or if he was trying to encourage “positive thoughts” among the crew. Either way, he made it pretty clear that he thought Jesus was out of line.

Jesus came back with one of the harshest rebukes we see him give a follower.

Get behind me Satan!… You do not have in mind the things of God, but merely human concerns.

I think that, every time I’ve read this, I’ve been put of balance by the “Get behind me Satan” part, that I have tended to miss the real rebuke.

Whatever Peter’s concerns or desires, they were out of line with God’s plan.

I don’t think Peter was saying anything I would have thought was out of line. We WANT to avoid talk of pain. We WANT to be positive as we make our plans. I think Peter thought he was taking a stand for something good.

But then it struck me. How often do I pray in the same way? I pray for “a good day today”. I pray over my daughters that they would “have a good night’s sleep”. I am praying for my wife that she “have a great trip”. I ask God for things that are merely human concerns. How can I shift my prayers to pray for “things of God”.

  • Perhaps not “help her to have a good night’s sleep”, but rather “help her to shine your light at school tomorrow”.
  • Perhaps not “help me to have a good day and get my project done”, but rather “help me to see others as you see them. Give me the words I need to respond to a difficult situation in a way that points to You”.
  • Perhaps not “grant her a safe trip”, but rather “help her to learn more in a way that makes her more effective in accomplishing the tasks you have given her”.

I’m not completely sure what that looks like yet, but I do realize that I need to move my prayer life from my human concerns, to the things of God.

Leave a reply