I had a rather startling revelation about prayer. Let me be specific—I realized that a good deal of the time was praying to a god I had created instead of—the God of the Bible.
No, seriously—it’s true!
This thought struck me while I was teaching my Wednesday night Ark Kids Club about The Lord’s Prayer. It’s funny how—when I teach kids—I often learn more than they do. 😃 We were reciting:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven…”Matthew 6:9-10
…and the realization struck me that I had spent much time praying to the wrong god. You see, the God of the Bible is perfectly holy. He is RIGHT—about everything! In order to have my prayers answered by this omnipotent and omniscient God—they must be directed to Him and NOT a less holy “god.” It dawned on me that when I remake God into who I think He should be—which is far less than He really IS—I am praying to a god who fits the lifestyle rules I chose.
Who is THAT god and what can HE really do for me??
Lest I’m not making my point clear, let me get down to brass tacks. If I have a habit in my life that I know violates God’s Word and I fail to rectify it because I don’t think it’s a sin—then I’m basically re-defining who I think God is—right? I’m remaking God to conform to who I think He should be. So, let’s say that I think it’s okay to have sex with my boyfriend because “everyone does it,” and this, of course, is in direct violation to God’s Word. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20) Thus, when I pray—I’m praying to a god who has different rules than the God of the Bible. Who is the god I’m praying to???
Or, let’s say that I’m NOT willing to diligently study God’s Word (I mean who will even know anyway—right?) even though His Word commands me to “study to show yourself approved.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Or, I don’t think I have to go to church even though the Bible is very clear that we should be in a strong bond with a body of believers and to “forsake not the assembly of yourselves together.” (Ephesians 4:11-16; Hebrews 10:25) Thus, when I pray—I am praying to a god that doesn’t really mean what he says—that is, not the God of the Bible. Who is the god I’m praying to???
When Judah worshiped their own gods, God said to them (through the prophet Jeremiah): “in the time of their trouble they will say, ‘Arise and save us.’ But where are your gods that you have made for yourselves? Let them arise, If they can save you in the time of your trouble; For according to the number of your cities Are your gods, O Judah.” (Jeremiah 2:27-28)
Either I’m praying to the God of the Bible or—some other god—it will NOT be both.
This realization stunned me because—I strongly desire for my prayers to be powerful. I DON’T want to waste my time in a meaningless ritual. I WANT my prayers to be answered. And I don’t want to play around with praying to some god who can’t even help me! Well, the choice is mine. I can get myself in line with God’s Word and engage His omnipotent power in my prayers. Or….not. Each day is a choice.
God’s desire is for us to live by His rules—not so we will be miserable—but rather, so we may experience the powerful and satisfying life He has planned for us!
“The effective, fervent prayer of a RIGHTEOUS man avails much.”James 5:16
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