Pray, Don't Prey

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father [a]of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Ephesians 3:14-21

We are all prone to sin in our lives, to missing the mark of God’s perfection. Life can feel a lot like an English class at times in that we make grammatical and punctuational errors that regardless of our original intent result in something entirely different. In other words we all have good intentions. In comparing our lives to an English class one mistake we tend to make is placing a period where God places a comma. Because of sin we do in fact fall short of the glory of God. Translated we often times quit too soon instead of being patient and allowing God the time and space to perform His perfect will concerning us.

Another error we easily can make in communication is grammatical errors where the word we use is misspelled. Though the word we write sounds the same as what we mean, what we actually communicate will be diametrically in opposition to what we had hoped. For example, take the words “pray” and “prey”.

Websters dictionary defines the word “pray”, 1 : ENTREAT, IMPLORE —often used as a function word in introducing a question, request, or plea pray be careful 2 : to get or bring by praying. intransitive verb 1 : to make a request in a humble manner 2 : to address God with adoration, confession, supplication, or thanksgiving. Webster’s goes on to define the word “prey” as, 1a : an animal taken by a predator as food. b : one that is helpless or unable to resist attack : VICTIM
was prey to his own appetites. 2 : the act or habit of preying. 3 archaic : SPOIL, BOOTY. Though the words pray and prey might sound the same the couldn’t be further apart. What a difference one vowel makes.

All through the Bible we are taught to pray for one another but we have all been victimized in a prayer meeting by someone who shared some disparaging information about another person followed up with the words, “I’m only telling you this so you will know how to pray”. Sadly, what you thought you heard was the word “pray” where in reality, what you were being invited to do was join them in “preying upon” the person rather than truly, “praying for” the person. The apostle Paul writes of this kind of prayer meeting in Galatians 5:15, “But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!”  

Don’t miss the mark today when you pray. Remember to “pray” for people, don’t “prey” upon people when you talk to God or others. Don’t place a period in your own life or the life of others where God has placed a comma. Take the words of the apostle Paul to heart today when he writes,

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8


Michael Osthimer





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