“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
Jeremiah 29:11, is one of more well-known, often quoted – and prayed – verses of Scripture. But, is this is a prayer that is prayed in a mindful way? Is there a way that it can be prayed, in a way that is bibically-faithful?
Praying Biblically-Faithful Prayers
We must be careful how we use God’s Word in our prayers. God’s Word is not a book of magic spells that just need to be read and said the right way, using the right potion. We cannot pray for God to prosper us and claim Jeremiah 29:11. That’s not biblical faithfulness.
Jeremiah 29:11 is about Jewish exiles being left behind in Jerusalem, while others are being taken to Babylon, which is much worse.
Yet, Jeremiah promises that God will judge Jerusalem and he will use the Babylonian exiles to fulfill his purposes, but the exiles in Babylon will be there a while.
Both groups do not like this message from Jeremiah, but in the end, the Lord promises that he has plans to prosper his nation but right now it all looks very bad. So, if you want to pray Jeremiah 29:11 in a biblically-faithful way, you would pray like this:
Lord Jesus, in the short-term, I may suffer and endure difficulty. But, long-term, my future is united with Christ. That’s a future for my welfare, not for evil; a future of hope, not of despair.
That’s different from getting up in the morning and praying Jeremiah 29:11, expecting God to prosper your business deal, or anything else.
We need to pray biblically-faithful prayers. Just because you pray Scripture does not mean you are praying in a biblically-faithful way. We must understand the Scripture that we are praying in the right way. The mind if critical. If we pray bibically-faithful prayers, we can be sure that we are praying mindful prayers, because our minds are engaged in understanding the Scripture.