A Curious Expression

I don’t know if any of you ever visit Stuff Christians Like, but if you’ve never visited it, you should. It’s a blog about the funny things we Christians do. And what they just might reveal about our faith. Like #641: Getting mad when someone interrupts your quiet time with God.

Anyway, this blog got me to thinking about an expression that is often thrown around by Christians that has always struck me as odd.

“I covet your prayers.”

Where did this come from? A quick Bible search reveals to me not a single verse where the word “covet” is used in a positive light. Used to describe sin? Yes. But something we should aspire to do? Definitely not. Then why….why do we think it sounds hyper-spiritual and holy for us to covet prayers? “I know it’s a sin to covet my neighbour’s house, husband, servant, ox, donkey, couch, beautifully landscaped yard, espresso machine, tile backsplash, or anything that is my neighbour’s….but I really have a covetous heart and rather than repenting….oh I know, I’ll covet prayer! That will sound spiritual, won’t it?”

I know, someone’s going to think that was way too harsh. Maybe so. I’m just putting it out there. And I’m not implying that it’s wrong to ask your Christian brothers and sisters to pray for you. I’m just wondering: why use the word covet? I find no one coveting prayer in the Bible.

5 Responses to “A Curious Expression”

  1. Kendall Says:

    Good post! :)
    I would find that term to mean something like “deeply crave” or “want more than anything”. It’s not just a casual, “Oh! If you think of it would you pray for me?” kind of thing. Paul does ask people to pray for him in quite a few places with an urgency that implies he REALLY wants them to do it. I’ll give you this, though: it’s not a term used in our everyday culture much anymore. It’s pretty much only “church-speak”…
    BTW: did you look in old versions of the Bible? Maybe it’s a KJV thing – or something that the church has carried over from the olden-days?

  2. Becky Fehr Says:

    I appreciate your heart so much! You are no TYPICAL Christian woman and you make me think, I like that a lot!

  3. Kim Says:

    Good thought on checking KJV Kendall, I did find two passages where Paul tells the Corinthians to covet certain spiritual gifts. Instead of using the word covet, ESV says “earnestly desire.”

  4. karina Says:

    well, i actually have thought the same thing kim. i don’t like it when people say that, it just sounds wrong to me. interesting tidbit on the use of the word in the KJV though :)

  5. e Says:

    in romans 15:30, paul is “urging” and pleading with the people for them to keep him in their prayers [some translations say in your wrestiling with God, which i think is funny], so perhaps that’s where the saying comes from. it could be translated to “strongly crave” or “desire” one’s prayers. personally, i don’t use the phrase “i covet your prayers”, but i have asked people to pray for me or a need in my family with urgency, so i guess in that sense, i may have been coveting their prayers. when you understand the power of prayer, then it would make sense that you would “covet” for people to pray for you. it’s definitely an intersting topic, in that it seems like an oxymoron.

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