Friday, July 16, 2010

Prayers We Don’t Mean

Last week we looked at the topic of songs we don’t mean. The thought behind it being that sometimes our singing can become nothing more than something we do because we’re supposed to. We sing and do not think about the words we are singing. This is not the only area in which this often happens. Not only in our songs does this often occur but also in our prayers. One’s prayers can become such habit that one simply says the words he is used to saying for a situation without really thinking about them or without really meaning them. Jesus condemned empty words of prayers when he said, “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” (Mat 6:7). Saying prayers with an empty mind an unspiritual heart produces prayers that are not accepted by God.

One type of prayer we pray that we might not mean falls in the realm of evangelism. As we close our services with a final prayer we might hear the prayer offered that we are given strength to go and serve the Lord, and that we might be an avenue bringing souls into the Kingdom though the Gospel. Hopefully if someone else is offering the prayer we are praying along with them in our minds, yet do we pray this and then go home and live our lives without thinking about the lost until the next final prayer rolls around? What is the point of asking God for strength when we will never use it? Maybe one thinks they have not been given any opportunities to spread the Gospel as the week passes by. What was the command to the Apostles before Christ ascended though? Christ said to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mat 28:19a). It literally means to make disciples, “as you are going” implying that God expects us to make opportunities to teach others in our every day life. If we are going to pray for the strength to teach other’s the Gospel, let us make and take the opportunities in life.

Another prayer often heard comes at some point before the sermon takes place. Maybe we hear it phrased as, “we pray the speaker will be strong and have remembrance of what he has studied. We pray that he will preach the truth with strength.” Maybe this is prayed, but as soon as the sermon starts, one’s focus is anything but the present lesson. Does one think that the preacher spends time preparing the sermon just for his own entertainment and learning, or because there is a need for it? James writes of not only being a hearer of the word, but a doer also (James 1:22), but that implies that one must be a hearer of the word before he can be a doer. If we pray for the speaker as he teaches the Word of God, let us be hearers and doers of it.

A final prayer we might here takes place before the offering. Usually one prays that we might be good stewards of the collection that we might further the kingdom. How often is the prayed only to have the money given left to sit in a bank account with no intention to ever let it see the light of day “unless the roof caves in”? The collection was taken up for a means of benevolence and meeting the needs of the local congregation. The offering is given so it can be used, not stored for the next few decades. Let us not rob God of His money to place it in a dark room where He cannot use it.

Prayers are a privilege Christians have to access the throne of God. They should never be empty or meaningless lest God refuse to hear them. Let us have prayers full of heart and meaning as we go to God with our needs and represent the Lord’s people and their needs.

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