Years ago, I was invited to sing at a friend’s church near where I lived at the time.
The worship and sermon were anointed, Holy Spirit was moving, and the presence of God was ushered in. It was amazing.
At the end of the service, an elder walked up to the mic to say the ending prayer, but it wasn’t what I expected.
He began inserting passive aggressive political statements intertwined with actual prayers. It was clear that he was upset and wanted to make sure everyone knew where he stood. The room began to feel empty as God’s presence dissipated
At one point, it was so awkward that I opened my eyes and looked around thinking, “Are you serious?”
It was bitterness wrapped up in a “prayer.”
Not only were his words completely inappropriate, but what he was saying was factually incorrect as well. He seemed angry, bitter, and looking for a fight.
Is this what prayer is supposed to be?
1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. ~James 4:1-3
Firstly, we need to make sure our political views don’t start dictating how we pray. There is a time and a place for civil discourse, and it’s not while praying out loud in a church when we’re supposed to be focusing on Jesus.
Prayer is having a conversation with God.
Prayer isn’t an abstract idea or activity where you contemplate about life, but engaging in an actual dialogue with Jesus.
The Lords Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) is an excellent example that Jesus gave on how to pray, but those words aren’t required. Overall, prayer is about humility, faith, and a sincere heart and mind.
Whether we’re praying privately behind closed doors or out loud in front of hundreds of people, our motivation for praying matters to God.
Are we using prayer to gossip or slander someone?
Are we full of pride and anger, aiming to start an argument or zing someone we disagree with?
Are our prayers laced with ulterior motives in the hopes of manipulation?
Are we trying to push an agenda or political view?
Are we praying to exalt ourselves as “super spiritual?”
Are we seeking Jesus with real hurt, worry, grief, sorrow, thankfulness, joy, petitions, repentance, or praise? Are we seeking a conversation with our Heavenly Father with authentic humility?
14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. ~Psalm 19:14
Before you pray, ask yourself, “What is my motivation?”