I wonder how much “Prayer” God actually hears? I do know that God knows all things therefore hears all things; that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about God’s definition of what prayer should be.
I say this because I have heard a number of prayers and even spoken a number of prayers that were complete drivel, complete nonsense, completely useless and in some cases not truthful. This we would do before a all knowing God because, like the Pharisee in Luke 18:11 we often payer with ourselves (not God), but our words sound good and sometimes elegant before people.
I have started to read William Stringfellow and the one challenge that I have accepted after reading some of his writing is to be totally and brutally honest with myself and with God in my prayer life. I have come to realise that we are only fooling ourselves when we are not truthful with God because He know all things about our lives and He still loves us.
In John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (NASB). We say we walk in the way (we follow Him); We have the life of God flowing through us, therefore let us walk in the truth……..
In John 16:13 it says “”But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (NASB). The main purpose of the Holy Spirit is to guide us (to point us) to Jesus Christ (the truth)
I am finding myself saying prayers (like we all do) without thinking about what I am saying. I will give you an example “Thank you Lord for the food and the hands that prepared it”. A reasonable prayer but not the truth. the truth would be more like this: “Thank you Lord for Estelle’s (my wife) hard work in preparing this food”. Let me use a better example: “Lord I am sorry for what I did yesterday”. Is that total honesty before the Lord or is that “church speak”. We need to get more specific and more in more detail before the Lord if we want to be totally truthful. The more correct prayer would be: “Lord I am sorry for my selfishness when I say Joe Smith in need, Needing food for his family for last night. I know I had some money on me but I was selfish and did not want to just give it away. Lord forgive me”. This type of prayer would remind you to go and make right with your brother and then come and prayer to the Lord again. Matt 5:24 “leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering”. We tend to say the words without thinking about what we are saying or making an effort of thinking about what we are praying. Would we do that to our earthly father or mother when we want something or would we think about what we are gong to say to them, so much more our Heavenly father who loves us so much more.
Next time you are frustrated, tell your Heavenly Father how you really feel. Tell Him how upset you really are with your sister, brother, husband or wife. Tell Him how hurt you really are, by what somebody said. Tell him how frustrated you are when you sin and make the same mistake you made yesterday and maybe the day before. He already knows and wants us to start trusting Him that He loves us and wants the best for our lives. When we do this God can start to break-up the hardened ground of our heart and expose the real you to Himself. Only then can true healing take place in our lives. Only when we completely expose the hardened places of our lives and hearts that God can start the healing process.
Our truthfulness in prayer allows the Holy Spirit to start working in our lives and lead us into a place of healing found in Jesus Christ.