Hi, I’m Pastor Jerry and I want to share with you a whole new world of prayer possibilities. You see, most of our praying is what I call “performance praying,” and the idea is pretty simple: if we get into the right position, say the right words, act holy enough, include enough passion, get enough people pleading, and persevere long enough, we can get God off his kiester and out onto the dance floor.

As a pastor, when I said, “Let us pray….” the whole place did the bowed head/closed eyes thing just like Mama taught them to pray when they were little. It might have worked just as well if, borrowing a phrase from law enforcement, I had said, “OK. Now assume the position.”

I have also noticed that no matter how old a cat is, if you pick one up by the scruff of the neck, it picks its feet up as it did when its mother carried it as a kitten. It seems to momentarily forget that it can walk for itself, and that walking is usually better than being carried. Again it's about performance.

In addition, we buy books with titles like “28 Secret Steps to Answered Prayer,” with the idea that if we just go down the list of possibilities until we hit the magic word, the duck drops down with a C-note in its bill. Presto! Prayer answered! Look at what we, ah, well, what God did.

It’s so simple, even a Caveman could do it (and probably did, with comparable results).

I’ve been thinking for some time now that there must be a better way to do this thing called prayer; a method to get away from prayer as a performance, and to incorporate more focus. And as it turns out, there is, and it’s a whole lot less work, too. I call it Outcome Driven Prayer, and I’ll show you a little of how it works and why. Get ready to step outside the box.

Once I went to the hospital to visit one of the older ladies of my church. She said they were talking about releasing her later that day and asked if I would say a short prayer about it. Well I thought up a pretty good prayer and ended it with “Lord, completely heal her, in Jesus’ name.” I was sort of congratulating myself on my prayer proficiency several hours later when I got the news that instead of being released, she had died.

I struck up a little chat with the Boss that went something like this: “What’s the story here, Lord. I asked that she be healed.”

“Define healed,” He replied.

“It’s the freedom from disease and pain.

So He says, “What disease is she suffering from now?”

And then I say, “None. But You know very well that’s not what I meant when I said “healed.”

So then He says, “Then why not take the extra time to say exactly what you want to see and hear? Like, for example, you could have said, ‘Restore her to full health. Strengthen her so she can again sing in the choir. Give her a testimony to share in church next week about how I touched her. The possibilities go on and on, but you tried to slip a lazy prayer past Me.

“There were several reasons she was taken then, but that Silver Bullet Prayer* you used left a lot of blanks for Me to fill in, and when I have to do extra work, I just fill ‘em in how I want to. Tell Me exactly what you want to see and hear about the person or situation you’re praying about next time, and you’ll see a lot different results.”

“Well,” I continued, “I’m worried You might get a little upset if I try to pin You down too much.”

“Not likely, Jerry. The real problem here is you’re too worried about how you’re going to look if your prayer “doesn’t get answered.” Don’t sweat it right now. Take some time to think about what we've just discussed and next week I’ll show you how to start hitting 100% on your prayer requests.”

(I’ve hit the length limit on this post, so I’ll finish it later. Next week: God gives Jerry an eye-opener. Stay tuned!)

* visit www.pastorjerrylive.org for more on the Silver Bullet Prayer.

Peace joy, and love. Jerry

Author's Bio: 

Pastor Jerry L. Lewis is married (same girl 42 years), a retired career schoolteacher, and loves to write and speak. Other careers have included building contractor, missionary in New York, and United Methodist pastor in Ohio. He designed and built his own website to provide self help and guidance, and also to promote his first book, “What God Can’t Do.” His writing is mostly non-fiction. You’ll probably find him writing or in the back garage hatching up some new “labor saving” invention.

website http://www.pastorjerrylive.org
and http://www.theeffectivelife.com