Sometimes I am ashamed of my prayers. Too often I hear myself using familiar phrases that are more like mindless filler than thoughtful, intimate interaction. One phrase that annoys me, and that I think might offend God, is “Lord, be with me.” In Scripture, God has already promised not to leave me.
God made this promise to Joshua just before he led the Israelites into the Promised Land (Josh. 1:5). The author of Hebrews later claimed it for all believers: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (13:5). In both cases, the context indicates that God’s presence has to do with giving us the power to carry out His will, not our own will, which is generally what I have in mind in my prayers.
Perhaps a better prayer would be something like this: “Lord, thank You for Your indwelling Spirit who is willing and able to direct me in the ways You want me to go. May I not take You where You don’t want to go. May I not enlist You to do my will, but humbly submit to doing Yours.”
When we are doing God’s will, He will be with us even without our asking. If we’re not doing His will, we need to ask for His forgiveness, change our course, and follow Him.
May our prayers not be mindless, but instead mindful of God’s will. (RBC)