Some prayers are a waste of time! Let me explain using the story of the Red Sea crossing. After leaving Egypt, God directed the Israelites towards the sea. The Egyptians then regretted letting their former slaves go and gathered an army to chase them.
Once full of faith, the Israelites were now terrified: “… They cried out to the Lord & they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? … What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt?” Ex 14:10b-11 (NLT)
Have you ever felt like that? I certainly have. I remember feeling like a fish out of water at a big meeting. I was alone, embarrassed and feeling sorry for myself. I prayed, “God, this is awful. Why did you send me here? Please get me out of here!”
I was stunned by the Lord’s immediate answer, “I don’t want to hear your self-pity. I want to hear your faith.” God is not moved by my “poor-me” prayers. He is moved by faith.
Let’s look at God’s answer to the children of Israel: “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!” Ex 14:15. God doesn’t want us to rehearse our fears or moan about our situations. He wants us to trust. Let’s rid ourselves of pointless prayers.
1. SELF-PITY PRAYERS
Self pity keeps our eyes on ourselves, it doesn’t please God, and it makes us feel awful. The best antidote to self pity is gratitude. When we’re under pressure, let’s resist the temptation to feel sorry for ourselves, and instead thank God for His goodness.
2. PUSHY PRAYERS
Imagine how Moses must have felt. The sea was in front of him and an army was behind him. It would have been easy for him to start giving God instructions. He may have wanted to pray, “Lord, send down fire and burn up our enemies!” He could have started interceding for a supernatural bridge or for boats to fall down from heaven!
When we are under pressure, it can be tempting to give God instructions about how we want Him to fulfill His promises. If Moses had prayed that way, he would have wasted his prayers. I’ve done it many times myself, but it’s a waste of breath.
3. POWER-PACKED PRAYERS
The best way to pray is to use God’s word! God gave the Israelites a promise: “The Lord will fight for you…” (Ex 14:14). The people would have been better declaring, “Thank You Lord that this is your battle and You will fight for us!”
You can do the same. Ask God for a verse about your situation then use that verse whenever you pray. God’s word will not return void. It will always accomplish God’s will. (See Is 55:11). Let’s be persistent in prayer power packed prayers based on the promises of God.