A few months ago I posted what I thought was the perfect prayer, you should read it, it’s pretty awesome.
Anyway, I posted that prayer because I thought it might be helpful to someone out there who might find prayer difficult, like I used to.
The pastor at the chuch my wife and I were attending when we accepted Christ as our savior had a horrible habit of picking someone from the congregation to end the service with a word of prayer.
“Robert, would you mind closing?”
“John, would you lead us in a word of prayer?”
“Susan, I mean Tom; Baptists don’t let womenz talk (kidding) would you do the honors?
“James (the name that should not be uttered in situations like these, EVER) would you mind standing in front of God and His people and totally humiliate yourself for what will seem to you like an eternity?
Yep, week after week after week, when I didn’t have the foresight to conveniently sneak off to the bathroom at exactly the right time, I sat there in my seat, trying to hide in plain sight behind a Bible, church bulletin, collection envelope, person in front of me, hey look a dollar fell out of the collection plate, my shoe is untied… while I actually thinking “don’t pick me, don’t pick me, don’t pick me…”
So what’s the big deal with standing up without any planning, thought, or notice and being asked to give an impromptu prayer in front of 300 of your closest and not at all judgmental and gossipy (kidding again, kind of) friends?
Well, the problem I had was that I thought I had to, If I ever had the misfortune of being called that is, hit my prayer out of the park like the other and much more mature in the faith people who were usually called always did. You know, a modern day Sermon on the Mount or the prayer equivalent of The Gettysburg Address that included all the right lingo like; lay your hands on, lift up, by the power of Thy quickening Spirit, let me touch the lives of others for good…Seriously, what if I used the wrong words or forgot to thank God for sending His son to die for me? What if I forgot to thank Him for my abundant blessings? What if I forgot to tell Him that I commit my spirit into His hands? What if I forgot to ask Him to bless and lead the Kansas City Chiefs to victory that Sunday? I’m sure you get the idea here but the list goes on and on and it was terrifying.
Was terrifying, that is, until I read and meditated on Matthew 6:7 which says. “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again.”
Turns out that it doesn’t necessarily matter what we say to God and/or ask from God in prayer as long as we say/ask it in sincerity, with obedience, with confidence, and with the knowledge that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us (1 John 5:14).
Bottom line here is that we all need to worry less that we have the right words and talk to God like we are talking to a friend or a relative on the phone.
Think about it. God loves us and values us so much that while we were yet sinners, He sent His son to die for us (Romans 5:8) just so we could be forgiven and spend eternity with Him in His glorious presence.
Hard to believe He would sacrifice so much just so He could forget every bad thing we have ever done and every bad thing we will ever do and still judge us on the eloquence of our prayers, isn’t it?