Thursday, December 27, 2007

Simple Prayer

I decided to type a little about prayer just now. I love reminding myself that prayer does not need to be a long, drawn out speech to God where we must give intricate detail about our needs/wants. Sometimes I slip back into the belief that I must sit down and articulate everything and give some well thought out speech to God before He will finally hear me and answer my prayer.

I've noticed that I can feel guilty for things like this and I can start to get angry at people who pray longer and better than I do. I've heard people speak of praying long prayers for the salvation of their loved ones and things. And to be honest, I don't do that. I have no idea what to say other than, "Father, please let this person be saved. I love them so much and I want them to know You, Father. Please don't let them be lost."

And then the thought comes to me: "Such a small prayer for so great a need? How can you simply pray a few words when we're talking about someone you love being saved from eternal punishment?" And I will feel pressured into giving some long, prayer, rattling off words to God so that He will be impressed with me and finally hear me.

Honestly, the pressure of the feeling that I need to spew out a huge speech before God every time I pray for anything can keep me from praying at all. So then I start subconsciously running away from the presence of God because I don't feel like making some big speech at that moment.

But thankfully, Jesus came to set us free from religion. Whenever you feel like like this, read Matthew 6:7-8.

"And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him."

So then, in prayer, be honest and simple. Believe God hears you not based on how pretty your speech is, but on what Jesus did to bring you into the presence of the Father to His throne of grace.


Gary Kirkham said...

Thanks for the reminder that we can be legalistic in our prayers. I know someone who says that you need to know precise details about the need of the person you are praying for so that you can properly pray for them. My contention was that God knows their need far better than they do so all we really need to do is pray for God's will to be done. I'm not saying that we shouldn't pray for their specific needs if we know them, but I don't think that it is necessary.

There are people at my church that can pray long beautiful prayers and, to be honest, I am often envious of their ability. I am an engineer by profession and I tend to be short and to the point when I speak so my spoken group prayers are a reflection of this....short and to the point.

When I am alone with God my prayers tend to be child like. I don't worry about trying to say things just the right way. I have heard Bob George say it many times and I believe it, "God does hear your words, He listens to your heart." Many times our words don't match up with what's in our hearts.

God knows it's your heart's desire to see someone get saved. How you verbalize doesn't really matter. I am not sure if this is biblical, but I would say that the words you use are for your benefit, not God's. He's listened to your groanings that are too deep for words.

Daelon said...

We're a lot alike prayer wise then. I'm usually just talking to God like I would my mom or dad.

I'm also with you on the whole detail oriented stuff. It makes me not wanna pray for people, because I'm just not gifted with the ability to pray long, articulate prayers. Like you, I tend to want to get straight to the point.

I agree with you though. Prayer is for us, not for God. He knows everything. Though I'm certain it's pleasing to God for us to pray because it's what we desire to do.