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“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” (Ephesians 1:17)
I was challenged recently by something I heard in a video by Dennis Fuqua, a pastor and leader of a prayer ministry called International Renewal Ministries. He was addressing the question of how to handle prayer requests that may have little relevance to your personal situation – like someone’s prayer for an aunt that you don’t know, or an upcoming random event. He encouraged us to not simply pray for the request, but also to continue the prayer by using a phrase that shows up numerous times in the Bible to “elevate” the request: “so that.”
“So that,” or “hina” in the original Greek, is a phrase that can help connect our request to the larger purposes of God. Consider the Lord’s prayer – we can ask for something “so that” God’s name might be treated as holy, that He might be glorified. We can make a request “so that” God’s kingdom would be established on earth as it is in heaven, that more people might enter into relationship with Him. We can pray “so that” God’s will would be done, so that His purposes would come to pass. And there are many other “so that’s” that are Biblical – so that they might believe, so that those who are watching might know you are God, so that someone might be strengthened in their faith.
Since I started paying attention to the “so that” question, it has caused me to evaluate the motivation behind my prayers. Why do I pray for healing, or for God to help me out in a difficult situation? Is it “so that” my life will be comfortable again? If so, then my prayers are probably not aligned with God’s will. Or is it “so that” God might display His power and glory to the watching world, or “so that” my faith might be strengthened?
I encourage you not only to pray, but to examine the motivations behind your prayers by asking yourself the “so that” question. I pray that your motives would line up with God’s motives, “so that” you might experience greater power in your prayer, “so that” many would experience the reality of God in your life, and “so that” God would be glorified in and through you.
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