Summary: This message explores ways that we as believers sometimes approach God in an inappropriate manner in our prayer lives. Issues dealt with: Praying for the ears of men, praying for length,praying in pride, and praying to manipulate God to do our will rather
How to Pray Wrong Prayers without Really Meaning to Do So!
1. PRAYERS MEANT FOR THE EARS OF MEN ARE INAPPROPRIATE
Jesus warned against praying in the streets, etc. so that others could see you praying and hear your prayers. His warning was that we are not to put
on a show for men.
Prayers are not to be spoken for the ears of Men! That doesn’t mean that men cannot hear our prayers, just that they need to be addressed to God
and meant for His ears.
A. Prayer is NOT the place where we correct our brothers and sisters in Christ.
EXAMPLE: Lord, I pray for ______________ and his sinful attitude. Please bring him to a place of repentance or judge him.
B. Prayer is NOT the place where we demonstrate our spirituality to others.
REMEMBER - Actions always speak louder than words. Your spirituality is measured in how you live, not how loud or how public or even how “beautiful” your prayers are!
Jesus said we need to enter our prayer closet, a private place of prayer. Why private? In private prayer we can draw close to God without distraction.
We have nothing to say to others in private prayer. We are in no danger of putting on a show for others if we are praying in our prayer closet. We are not
praying for the ears of men when we pray in private.
2. PRAYERS FULL OF “SPIRITUAL” FILLER ARE IMPROPER
Jesus warned against “vain repetitions” or babbling like pagans. At times, our prayer can become repetitive and ritualistic with little or no real feeling. Most of us don’t chant, but we might have “filler words” that we use to make our
prayers stretch out a bit.
As a stern disciplinarian in a Christian School setting, I once assigned a 500 word composition to a student regarding a public display he had put on in class. He had been disrespectful in a clowning sort of way. I assigned him to write a composition about his behavior and how he was not supposed to act as the class clown. His composition went something like this:
(Note- I have changed his name to protect him, even
though he was not so innocent)
“I, Evan Lansford, as a student in a Christian school, should realize that I, Evan Lansford, should act like a student in a Christian school. It is not the responsibility of Evan Lansford, a student in a Christian school, to act as a class clown in a Christian school. In fact, even I, Evan Lansford, a student in a Christian School, know that a Christian
school does not neet a class clown such as myself, a student in a Christian school named Evan Lansford....” It went on and on in the same manner. My mistake was asking him to read it before the class before I read it myself.
Sometimes, our prayers become full of repeated words and phrases as we seek to fill what we believe will be an appropriate period of prayer time. This is not a lot better than the silly composition that the young man wrote. What value do such repetitions have? I’m afraid that at times they become “vain” or “empty” and that we should avoid them.
Some people feel that they must pray for a certain amount of time each day. This might lead to a wrong practice of “forcing” ourselves to stay in a
place of prayer and repeating ourselves in prayer rather than praying from sincere hearts. If you feel that you must fill a certain period of time in prayer
you are praying from a sense of duty rather than a sense of love.
The relationship between a husband and wife is supposed to be one of love. I am certain that you married folks wish that you spent more time just
sitting and talking with your spouse. However, what sort of love would it be if your spouse declares, “I HAVE to stay and talk with you because I have to fill
at least ten minutes per day with our conversation or I am not being a good spouse.”
Choosing to go to the place of prayer is one thing. There are times when I personally make a choice to do something with my wife rather than to go
somewhere with my friends. Sometimes I do so because I feel I should do so and sometimes because I just want to do so. There will always be times when
we choose to go to the place of prayer because we know it is the right thing to do and there will be times when we come to the place of prayer out of a real
desire to spend time alone with God.