Recently I’ve been reading a version of the Bible called “The Message.” I like to read through this version of the Scriptures every couple of years because of the fresh way it presents classic ideas.
Today I read something about prayer that made me stop, pull out my pen, do some underlining, and make some notes!
Here’s what I read:
“…when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
I LOVE this!
As a public speaker in general, and preacher in particular, it is easy to turn prayer into a demonstration of oratorical ability.
Jesus said, “Don’t.”
God doesn’t care how eloquent I am. Besides that, even if I were a master orator… I’d be competing against every other prayer He hears… and I’m pretty sure there are lots of people with bigger vocabularies and more engaging presentations than me! In other words, if prayer is a performance… I’d get lost in the shuffle of great performers.
Fortunately, Jesus set me free from that way of thinking when He said, “Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.”
I can do that!
Be alone and genuine before God!
Say what you feel, think, believe, hope, dream, etc. THAT’S WHAT GOD WANTS TO HEAR!
He’s not impressed with your big words and fake passion any more than He is impressed with artificial tears and trumped up faith. He wants you to be real… honest… just you!
I can do that!
Alone… honest… just me and God.
I can do that… and you can too!
And the good news is… that is what God is looking for! Someone who will be alone and honest with Him! He can and will help that person… that’s what Jesus implied when He said, “you will begin to sense his grace.”