Prayer – it’s an act that makes us stand out as different from other people. We are taught to pray to God and we are influenced by our church and our family members and the Christian people around us when it comes to HOW to pray.
And yet, have you ever wondered what prayer is actually all about? As always, we should turn to the scripture to learn the truth.
Today we have people who go to church and pray the same exact words every single day! It gets redundant to the point where the things coming out of our mouths carry no more meaning to our hearts. Some people, who choose to pray in silence tend to be seen as either very shy or just ignorant. It’s time to change our perception about prayer.
So, is prayer just the mere repetition of words in the same formula over and over again?
Let’s go to the Bible:
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” (Matthew 6:7)
So, essentially, NO, prayer is not the repetition of words over and over again. This is, as stated by the holy Word of God, a heathen tradition!! After saying this, Jesus Christ demonstrated the right kind of prayer by praying the most famous “Lord’s prayer”. He meant to teach us what to include in our prayers to God, and He also meant to indirectly teach us that in order to pray for something like forgiveness, we must first have forgiven others who have wronged against us. Otherwise, we have no right to ask for forgiveness (“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”)
So, regardless of what Jesus said about the vain repetitions, sadly, many Christian sects have decided to ignore the above statement and they keep repeating the exact words of prayer said by Jesus Christ, even though He most CLEARLY said “DO NO USE VAIN REPETITIONS!!” It is quite sad.
But we can also learn a lesson from this – it doesn’t matter how long you pray. As long as your prayer is sincere and contains everything you want to say to God, then it’s acceptable for God. It could be short, or if you have time and wish to make a deeper connection with God, you could always prolong your prayer and try to listen for what God has to say to you.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)
The above verse kind of explains what goes hand-in-hand with prayer. Prayer is not just about praising and thanking God or asking Him for something. Prayer is about confessing your faults and sins, and only after this happens, can you be healed. Healing (physical, emotional, mental or spiritual) is dependent upon your willingness to accept your faults and confess them to God and to humble yourself so that God can act in your life.
Some people today like to pray in public for no good reason. They like to make it known to others that they are being “religious” and praying and praising every single moment of life. There is nothing wrong with having a heart that prays and praises 24/7, but let’s go back to the Bible:
” And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward” (Matthew 6:5)
Jesus Christ says Himself that we must try not to turn into hypocrites. There is no use to God or to yourself if you decide to pray in public just to make others notice you. Prayer is an intimate time between you and God ONLY. Even if you are praying as part of a group, each person is having an intimate and personal conversation with the living God, and if you think about it, it is a time to be seen of as most revered, and we must all learn to respect prayer.
Prayer being the only time to bond with the almighty Lord, we must try to make it as special as possible and not allow our human inclination to make others notice us get in the way of a good communication between us and God.
“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:6)
Only the truly meek person who really and truly wants to develop a connection with God will pray in secret without the incentive of being noticed or praised by others for their religiousness. Doing this shows your Father in heaven that you only care about bonding with Him and listening to what He has to say, and that you are not after the appreciation and admiration of men.
“Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” (Colossians 3:22-23)
We Christians must realize that the above verse applies more than ever to US, because we are servants of our loving Master Jesus Christ. Therefore, we must obey all things He says not as “menpleasers” , meaning we must not be seeking the approval and satisfaction of men, but rather that of our heavenly Father. This applies to prayer as well; pray from your heart rather than trying to sound smart and intellectual by pulling out huge words and using them in loud prayer in the middle of a bus-ride.
I hope this post made you think a little bit more deeper about the meaning of prayer, and if you have any questions or if you have any opinions to add to this, please feel free to leave a comment below.