Friday, January 20, 2012
Prayer: The Revelation of Your Heart
If we look at the prayers in the Bible and we compare them to the prayers that are offered up on a Sunday morning we would probably notice a difference. The vast majority of prayers that I have heard in Church are cold, dead and repetitive. Certainly, this is not true of every prayer in every Church but it is true of the majority of “corporate prayer” in the majority of Churches. I fear that for many people in many churches prayer is just a part of the service. We sing songs, take up the offering, pray preaching…It has become dead liturgy. In fact, I have been tempted to record the prayers that are offered in my own church and play them to show that it is basically the same prayer offered every week.
The deadness of prayer in corporate worship raises so many questions. Could it be that those who pray do not know that God is a personality? When I say “personality” I am not saying that God is a “human” but that He has personality- He has emotions, can interact, respond, think, etc. Could it be that those who pray are focused on the congregation and not upon God? Perhaps, those who are praying do not know how to pray? Maybe, they are not converted and do not know God?
What then about our private prayers? In private prayer we have the liberty to express our hearts without being self-conscience. There is no audience other than God. There is no temptation to impress. Private prayer is a between a child and his Father. In prayer closet we can let our guards down and pour out our heart openly before our God. It is here that our hearts will be revealed. Do you want to know what your relationship with God is like and the state of your heart? All we need to do is to examine our prayers. What do you pray for?
Certainly we can and should pray for our needs. But what do we need? The Bible tells us that God will provide for us food and clothing and we should be content with that. Are we permitted to ask God for what we want? Perhaps, but I think the greater question might be why do we want what we want? If you ask most people why they are praying for the things they are praying for they know enough Bible-language to say things like “for my family” or “for God’s glory.” Most people know enough to cover their idolatry and greed with a spiritual veneer. I see the prayers of people, especially those who post their prayer requests on web-based social networks (often complete with pictures) and I am grieved in my heart. “I/we are praying that God will give us _______________” (car, boat, canoe, house, college, etc.).
Is this what we are to be praying about? I find no Biblical example of such prayers. I look that the “model prayer” (often called the “Lord’s prayer”) and all I find is Jesus teaching us to pray for daily bread. Where then do we get the liberty to pray for the things of the world? We often hear that old cliché “What if we were to play a video of your thoughts on a giant screen for everyone to see?” I wonder what would happen if we were to play an audio of our prayers?
“Our Father, who is in heaven, hollowed be Your Name, Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts…”
What do you pray for?