I was with an old college buddy of mine this week and he told me a great story of a nighttime prayer with his grandson. The six year old prayed: "God would you make it so everyone does what I want?" And as his papa was leaving his room, the boy looked up from his bed smiling, and said: "I sure hope he answers that one!"
How often do we pray in order to ask for some blessing? Some have lists of things they are asking for. At other times, we pray in the crisis--"O God help!" Both of these prayers--asking for blessings and for help in troubled times--are proper praying. In these prayers we give direction to God. Bless this, help that, or send this or care for that.
But this week I've been thinking about another kind of prayer. In Acts 10 and 11, there is a telling and re-telling of a story. Simon Peter was praying, and so was a Roman soldier. And as they were praying, they received direction from God!
I am trying to learn to pray long and sincerely, without asking for anything but transformation. And I'm finding that often such transformation comes when I'm ready to obey in new ways.