The Mind of Christ
What is your prayer life like? If you were to flip open your prayer list, what kind of requests would predominate? I was reading a book recently which stated that the majority of our prayer requests are “fix-it” prayers, where we ask God to solve a problem for us. While there are plenty of examples of fix-it kinds of prayers in the scriptures, when we look at the totality of biblical prayer, the fix-it prayers are dwarfed by the predominance of those sort of praises, confessions, thanksgivings, and supplications which touch far more on the spiritual and grander Kingdom vision than on merely, “God fix it!”
Before I go any farther, I want to be clear: Fix-it prayers are legitimate and important prayers to pray. They acknowledge that we have come to the end of our resources in some area and need God’s intervention. They proclaim that we see God as our Source. Even in the prayer Jesus taught His disciples, He instructed them to pray for their daily bread—a basic need. They show that we care for one another as we lift each other’s needs before the throne. Fix-it prayers can be very bonding as they can invite us together in the desire to assist one another, much like the friends who brought the paralyzed man to Jesus. He didn’t chide them for asking Him to “fix” their friend. He commended them for their faith and granted them their request. There is no shame in fix-it prayers.
That said, fix-it prayers are basic. They are similar to the limits of my current ability to speak German after 25 years of not using it. I quip that I speak “Kinderdeutsch”—children’s German, for just as a child can make her needs known, but can’t discuss complex issues, I can get across my basic needs, but beyond that I stumble around for words. Everyone from the unbeliever to the seasoned saint can pray fix-it prayers because we are limited, needy creatures who regularly face situations beyond our control. As the old saying goes, there are no atheists in foxholes, so it doesn’t take that much for the most hardened among mankind to get so scared or desperate that they will cry out a just-in-case-there-is-a-god fix-it prayer.
As Pastor Jay mentioned in a recent sermon, we can learn much about scriptural priorities in prayer by examining the biblical models. If you want to enrich your prayer life, spend some time analyzing and praying the prayers you find in the Bible, from both the Old and New Testaments. Of course the Psalms, especially, are great prayer tools, but also from Genesis to Revelation we will find many examples of intercession, supplication, confession, praise and thanksgiving. Jonathan Graf suggests that everyone in our pews should know how to take a portion of scripture and turn it into prayer. Such study will grow us well beyond the basic, fix-it praying.
Doing so can lead us to prayers such as is found in our anthem, “May we have the mind of Christ.” Can you imagine praying such a prayer for yourself, your family members, the leadership of our church, and even the leadership of our nation? Think of how lives and relationships would change if we fervently prayed to have the mind of Christ, His humility, submission and dependence.
What would happen to marriages if we would be humble with one another not insisting on our own rights, serving one another, being willing to die to self or selfishness? What would happen if we prayed for opportunities to love one another sacrificially, as Jesus taught and modeled?
Translate those prayers to our relationships in the church. Paul encourages this mind of Christ when he instructs the churches to be truly humble and gentle with one another, to consider others as more important than themselves, and to submit to spiritual leadership. If we start extrapolating out the depths of the impact of such a prayer—so seemingly simple, but incredibly powerful—it could be life-altering, and its ripples would go far beyond our own lives.
One thing is for certain, we will never have the mind of Christ apart from God’s divine enabling, so praying for it fervently and pursuing it tenaciously will be the only way to obtain it. Even then, it will be a lifelong endeavor, not something bestowed on us in an instant. It will take gazing on Him intently, absorbing as much as we can understand of His dependence, obedience, courage, steadfastness, and other qualities. The apostle John tells us that, when we see Him, we will be like Him. While John was referring to the time we are taken up in glory and see Jesus there, it is also true that we become more and more like those we admire. As we habitually behold Jesus, admire Him and pray to be like Him, we will find ourselves gradually transformed into His image. We will grow to have the mind of Christ.
Put this request on your prayer list, consistently pray for it, and watch how God transforms your life.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries