Posted in Thoughts from Life, Thoughts from Others

Formula or Relationship?

I like checklists. But sometimes checklists are the exact opposite of what I need.

Checklists make me think that everything is urgent. I must stay focused to mark off those little boxes. And what if I don’t? Have I failed?

That mentality often affects my prayer life as well. Have I said the right things? Have I worked through my prayer list correctly? What if I am not doing it the right way? Will God still hear me? What if I leave something out? Can my prayer list really cover everything that needs to be covered?

So, I go back to Scripture and I see a wonderful formula in the Lord’s Prayer. If I just follow that formula, it will all be okay, right?

But then I realize that I’m just repeating words. Am I really praying? Or am I just right back at the beginning, wondering if I’ve really done this things correctly?

Recently I read a devotional by Spurgeon dealing with the spirit behind the Lord’s Prayer. It was like a breath of fresh air. It’s not about right or wrong – it’s about how our prayers move us into the right attitude as we stand before the throne of God.

  • a frame of mind to recognize His holiness

  • surrender to His will, recognizing that furthering His kingdom is of utmost importance

  • recognition of His provision, putting aside worry and anxiety as we rest in that knowledge

  • recognition of our sin and need for His forgiveness

  • a right consideration of, acknowledging that they, too, need forgiveness

  • a vision of the reality that He is our deliverer and that He holds all power and authority

All of these things put us in a frame of mind to interact relationally and submissively in prayer to an Almighty God. It’s not about the formula. It’s never about the formula. It’s about the relational interaction.

I will never truly grow in Christ until I surrender my formulas. I will simply go through motions that result in systematic action rather than heart interaction. I choose instead to step into an active relationship with Him. When I do, my prayers will never be wrong.


I am a homeschooling preacher's wife and managing editor for the Well Planned Gal. But, I also love to write just for the fun of it. I also process best through writing, and my thoughts tend to flow from things I learn through the Bible, interacting with my family, and moving through life in general. Thanks for joining me in my not quite ordinary journey.

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