So That

January 23, 2012

A few years ago my friend Robert Schuler shared with me one of the most important insights on prayer I’ve ever heard. Over supper one night Robert told us how he prayed:

“When I pray I always try to include the phrase ’so that.’ I heard a guest preacher mention that in a sermon several years ago, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

He went on to say that he has been praying a particular “so that” prayer for me for several years. I can’t remember all the details of the prayer, but I do remember the three “so that’s”:

So that I would be strong in the Word of God,
So that I would be faithful to the end,
So that God would be greatly glorified through my life.

Needless to say, I was touched by his faithfulness in praying that way for me. Later I thought about it and realized how entirely biblical it is. Consider how many times Paul prayed “so that” prayers:

“So that you may overflow with hope” (Romans 15:13).
“So that you may know him better” (Ephesians 1:17).
“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:17).
“So that you may be able to discern what is best” (Philippians 1:10).
“So that you may have great endurance and patience” (Colossians 1:11).
“So that you will be blameless and holy” (1 Thessalonians 3:13).
“So that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you” (2 Thessalonians 1:12).

I’ve discovered that using the “so that” principle gives a clear focus to my prayers. So many times our prayers are good but aimless. We ask God to “bless” someone or to “strengthen” someone, but we have no particular end in view. But when you add “so that” to your petitions, it forces you to ask yourself, “What do I really want God to do in this person’s life?” And if you don’t have a reason for praying a particular prayer, perhaps it’s not worth praying in the first place.

So I’ve been experimenting with this “so that” principle and I find it very challenging and encouraging because it focuses my wandering mind and causes me to think about why I want God to “bless” my family, friends, and acquaintances. Here’s an example: “Lord, please help Nick to excel at his work so that he will have opportunities to talk about his faith so that others might come to Christ through him.” That’s much deeper than “Lord, please bless Nick.” It’s amazing how “so that” can transform an ordinary prayer into a powerful petition to our Heavenly Father. I’m glad Robert shared this prayer with me so that I could share it with you.

Comments

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post? If you have a Facebook account, you may comment below:

PREVIOUS POST
«
Ray Pritchard
Subscribe to Pastor Ray’s blog by email »

Latest blog posts

Good Words for Today: October 25
Saturday, October 25

Continue

Anchor
The Anchor Project
Explaining the Gospel in “Walmart English”

Anchor is a “gospel book” that explains the Good News in a simple and persuasive manner. Read the latest on “The Anchor Project” and how you can be support our work.

Read More
China
Keep Believing China
Partnering with Chinese pastors and churches

We want to join together with pastors and Christian workers to equip the church in China, broadcasting translated sermons, providing ministry resources for Christians and pastors in China.

Read More

Email
Weekly sermon email
Subscribe for free

Subscribe to the weekly sermon from Keep Believing Ministries. Sign up for our emails and use it to grow in your faith as well as to encourage others.

Continue

audio
KBM Podcasts
Weekly audio sermons

Welcome to Keep Believing Ministries’ audio/podcast library. Listen to or download a digital audio version of one of these messages or receive them via our podcast and feed.

Read More

Ebook: ABC’s of Wisdom

In the book of Proverbs, King Solomon left us a treasure trove of practical principles for daily living. The ardent pursuit of wisdom is every Christian’s calling! Wisdom “is a tree of life to those who embrace her. Those who lay hold of her will be blessed.” (Proverbs 3:18)

“Equipping and encouraging people to keep believing in Jesus”

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”