"God, I pray that..."
What does that mean?
For me, that phrase actually represents a lack of faith. In Jesus' example of prayer it was pretty clear what He was praying for. For example:
- Holy is your name..
- Your kingdom come...
- Give us...
- Forgive us...as we forgive
- Lead us not...but deliver us
Do you see what I mean? There is not wishy-washy language. He's talking to his Father, telling Him things directly, and asking Him things pretty bluntly.
Maybe it's like this:
"God, 'I pray that' you would help me not to sin."
"God, forbid me from sinning."
I can't judge anyone's heart or prayers, but the first one (something similar to what I often pray) could be translated "God, I'm probably going to screw up big time today, and to be honest, it's not that big a deal to me. Maybe you could help me out by making life a little easier - or by making this whole "Christian" walk a little more attractive and a little less difficult".
If I'm at a place where I'm praying the second one, I'm likely at a place where I'm saying: "God, I recognize who you are, and I recognize who I am in light of your saving grace. Do whatever it takes to keep me on the paths of righteousness that you've called me to. I'm committed to obeying you no matter what the cost. Help me."
Maybe my prayers need to be a little more direct - need a little more conviction. Maybe, I need to record my prayers and listen to the other bad habits I've fallen into.
What does "bless this food to my body" mean anyway? Probably not worth praying over a Whopper and fries...
As a matter of chat...
Are you missing out on God's blessing because you're not really asking for much, in faith? Do you pray with conviction? Is your mindset one of actually communicating with God? Or are you simply going through the motions of a cliche, "good work" because it's what you've always done? How would your prayers be different if you eliminated the phrase "I pray that..."?