83. Prayer Phrases to Be Banished

Today’s post was written by Some Guy, blogger extraordinaire. For more humorous reflections and commentaries, check out his blog!

We all have our comfortable prayer phrases—things you say during prayer when you can’t think of anything else. And I’m not talking about filler words either. I mean the verbs in the prayer—what you are asking God to do.

I have some prayer phrases I use but I wish I didn’t use. To help rid myself of this bad habit, I’m going to hand out those buzzers that come in the game Taboo. Anytime I pray these words, someone will buzz me. It might be a bit distracting though. And too tempting for those pranksters who would slip one onto the chair just before someone sits down.

Here are my three phrases to be banished for being too generic.

The Word “Bless”

I once read that an easy way to improve your prayers is to avoid the word “bless.” It’s way too generic, rendering it meaningless.

“Dear God, please bless Socrates.” How are you going to know when God answers that one? Maybe you wanted him to have a better job, but God gave him more children. They are both blessings.

It certainly wouldn’t hurt to be specific when you ask for something. Saying “bless Socrates” is, in effect, saying “do something for Socrates, but I don’t care what it is.”

The Phrase “Be With”

Do I believe that God is always with me? With anyone else? Then why do I pray as if God isn’t going to be with someone? “Lord, please be with Socrates.”

If I didn’t know that God is patient, I would expect Him to get frustrated. “I am with you. I already told you that. Why don’t you believe Me?”

The Phrase “Watch Over”

This is along the same lines as “Be With.” Of course God is going to watch over us. In your prayers though, do you want Him just watching? Or do you want Him to do something?

I observed a good illustration of this at the beach. A wife asked the husband to watch their toddler, who was enjoying throwing sand at the waves. It was a cooler day, so the child was wearing a shirt and pants along with sandals. Perfect for playing in the sand instead of swimming. The toddler didn’t mind that the waves occasionally splashed his pant legs, so the husband didn’t disturb the child’s fun. The wife returned, saw the wave-splashed child, and became upset.

“I thought you were watching him!”

“I did watch him.”

“Then why is he all wet?”

“Oh, you wanted me to keep him dry?”

A prayer to have God “watch over” someone does not really ask God to do anything different from what He is already doing. How are you going to see that prayer answered?

Those are my top three phrases that deserve banishment. Perhaps you use them too. Don’t worry—if I hear you use them, I won’t judge you.

At least not out loud.

So what’s your go-to prayer phrase? What else would you like to see banished? Let us know in the comments!

5 thoughts on “83. Prayer Phrases to Be Banished

  1. Pingback: TMTF Guest Post •• Some Blog Site

    • Indeed. It’s unbearable when an entire prayer consists of four or five “justs.” You could probably combine all these phrases into the ultimate prayer faux pas:
      ” Please just be with Socrates, just watch over him and bless him.”

  2. Prayer Phrases: I kind 0f chuckled at the phrases you have chosen to delete from the prayer life of the Christian. I agree with some of them and disagree with others. In the last month or so I came upon an article that was quite similar to yours in that he hears these words used as punctuation: comas, periods and exclamation marks. And, ah yes, Adam I must confess I am guilty on both counts. I promise to work on my prayer language. Amen.

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