As mentioned previously, I am reading Max Lucado's daily devotional, "God Is With You Every Day," every morning along with my Bible and prayer time. These are his thoughts from yesterday, June 22.
The One Who Hears the Prayer
"And when you pray, don't be like those people who don't know God. They continue saying things that mean nothing, thinking that God will hear them because of their many words." Matthew 6:7 NCV
Jesus downplayed the importance of words in prayers.
We tend to do the opposite. The more words the better. The better words the better.
Vocabulary might impress people but not God.
There is no panel of angelic judges with numbered cards. "Wow, Lucado, that prayer was a ten. God will certainly hear you!"
"Oh, Lucado, you scored a two this morning. Go home and practice."
Prayers aren't graded according to style. Just as a happy child cannot mis-hug, the sincere heart cannot mis-pray.
Heaven knows, life has enough burdens without the burden of praying correctly. If prayer depends on how I pray, I'm sunk.
But if the power of prayer depends on the One who hears the prayer, and if the One who hears the prayer is my Daddy, then I have hope.
Prayer really is that simple. Resist the urge to complicate it. Don't take pride in well-crafted prayers. Don't apologize for incoherent prayers.
No games. No cover-ups. Just be honest to God. Climb into his lap. Tell him everything that is on your heart. Or tell him nothing at all. Just lift your heart to heaven and declare, Father . . . Daddy . . .
And sometimes "Daddy" is all we can muster. Stress. Fear. Guilt. Grief. Demands on all sides. All we can summon is a plaintive "Oh, Father." If so, that's enough. (From Before Amen)
We are tempted to think that the best prayers are made by those who are eloquent and forceful with their words. A prayer offered like that definitely "has the anointing".
But Jesus reminds us of the simplicity of prayer in the story of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector found in Luke 18:9-14. The Pharisee prays a prayer that is eloquent and could sound very righteous, except for being self-righteous. "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner'" (v13). Jesus then explains that it is the prayer of the tax collector, not the Pharisee, that is effective. Thankfully, it is not based on our performance or fine words.
Isn't it wonderful to know that your Father in Heaven hears your every prayer, even if it is just one word: "Help!"? You don’t have to be eloquent or know how to say just the right combination of words.
If your heart is tuned toward your Abba Father, He will hear you. He knows your need even before you call (Isaiah 65:24), so don’t hesitate to come before Him.
We have confidence (boldness) to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus and by the ministry of the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 10:19).
Wow! Let’s go there!