In an earlier post, I mused whether one could “over-spiritualize” something. That is to say, is it wrong to simply use God-given reason in certain instances, i.e. whether to salt the fries, whether to wear the blues or khakis or whether to buy a Ford or Nissan? Or should every detail be brought before God in intentional, sincere and deliberate prayer? In efforts to provide me with renewed hunility, God showed me several helpful blog posts on the subject. (God often reminds me that greater and more faithful minds have traveled deeply in subjects in which I only wade.)
The second post to read is here. In that post, David Wayne shares his thoughts and links to several other posts discussing the topic. I found Wayne’s thoughts particularly interesting in the following quote:
…[T]he Scripture is very clear about God’s revealed will in many places – that we be conformed to the image of Christ, that we carry the cross, that we please Him. If we are going to pray for things like parking spaces these things must be filtered through the revealed will of God. For instance, if you really think you need to pray for a parking space, then you ought to filter it through the lense of God’s revealed will. You ought to ask how this contributes to my task of carrying the crosss, of self-denial, how this will conform me to the image of Christ, and so on and so on.
The thing that troubles me the most about this is that it endorses a kind of prayer for personal advantage and convenience. I may get the plum parking space but if I get it, that means someone else will get a worse parking space. Given Jesus words of condemnation of Pharisees who want the best seats at the table in Matthew 23, wouldn’t that translate to the parking space situation in such a way as to cause us to want to pray that others get the better spots?
…In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus tells us that, when we pray for ourselves, we are to pray for our most basic needs, like food. He doesn’t give us an example of praying for other things which are to our advantage, and certainly not when something to our advantage would put someone else at a disadvantage.
And along those lines I think the biggest concern here is that this admonition to pray about details like parking spaces may take our minds off of bigger things like the kingdom of God. If the Lord’s prayer teaches us anything it teaches us to make the coming of the kingdom of God the primary thing in our prayers. My fear is that if we get all excited about praying for parking spaces and other assorted whatnot, we’re going to lose sight of praying for the coming of the kingdom of God.
What do you think? Does God want me to pray for a parking space? Does He want me ask direction regarding whether to shop at Wal-mart or Target? What about what city to live in? What church to attend? Where do we draw the lines?
I know I am offering some questions and not any answers, but I am thinking through this so think with me if you will.