By: Brad Dobson LMHC, LCAC, CADACII
Have you ever prayed for someone to change? Maybe you don’t like how your kids are behaving during their college years. Maybe you feel someone is making “unchristian” choices in their life. Maybe you feel you are just acting in their best interest by praying to better their life by praying God will help them see the light. But really you are basically asking God to remove someone’s free will and change them because that is what YOU want.
Sorry for the heavy dose of reality. We have distorted prayer into a selfish tool to meet our own judgmental desires. Prayer for change in a person is very different than prayer for God watching over a person to protect them during a learning and growth period in life. Even Genie in Aladdin had a rule that he couldn’t overrule free will and make another person love someone! But sometimes that is how we treat God, like he is a magic Genie.
So what should prayer really be used for when we are dissatisfied with another person’s choices? The truth is that we should be praying for ourselves first! Shouldn’t we be praying that God give us discernment to explore if we are just being judgmental and selfish? Shouldn’t we be praying for strength and patience as people we care about find their own path in faith? Shouldn’t we trust that God is in control and give our worries to Him?
Prayer is not a tool to be misused and distorted. Prayer is the most powerful means of interacting with God. I encourage you to explore how you use your prayer time. Is God your genie or your Savior?