Read: “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.” Matthew 6:7 (NLT)
Reflect: Have you ever been in an argument and a third party shows up unexpectedly so you flip a switch and your demeanor totally changes? In the same way I am guilty of acting like everything is fine on the outside, while on the inside I could be angry, hurt, and frustrated. Even when I may be full of turmoil inside, I act like I’m a confident spiritual leader who has all the answers.
I am equally guilty of flipping the switch when it comes time to lead prayer for a group or family. All of a sudden I find myself saying words like “Oh Dear Heavenly Father….” I don’t talk to people that formally in real life! I grew up watching others pray like that and thought I needed to imitate their style and attitudes.
We learned this weekend that we can be real with God and talk to him just like we speak to others. God doesn’t want us to go on and on, spouting meaningless words, trying to sound spiritual, or using religious clichés. Prayer is a personal conversation, not a script for me to perform like an actor. God wants heartfelt connection where I tell him what I’m struggling with, what I’m grateful for, and what I don’t understand. Learning to embrace the truth that God made each of us unique with our own way of communicating helps me pray sincere, simple prayers that build my relationship with God.
React: Do you flip a switch before you pray? Spend some time simply talking to God like you would talk to anyone else. Ask him to help you let go of the idea that you need to pray the way someone else does.
Pray: Father, you made me and know everything about me. I want to be real with you and closer to you.