Summary: Prayer keys are not ways of manipulating God. Rather, they are like a boat hook. If I am in a row boat and cast a hook to shore, does pulling move the shore to me or does it move me to the shore? Prayer keys do not pull God to our will. They pull us to Go
“These people come near to me with their mouth & honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” Isaiah 29:13
Before saying anything else to introduce sincerity as a prayer key, I want to repeat something about the last part of this verse. “Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.”
We have said that prayer keys are not ways of manipulating God. Rather, they are like a boat hook. If I am in a row boat and cast a hook to shore, does pulling move the shore to me or does it move me to the shore?
Prayer keys do not pull God to our will. They pull us to God’s will.
When I was a child, I waited anxiously to hear something. Some of you did, too. I almost could not stand the wait. To this day I remember hearing it. It became such a part of Americana that even people much younger than me probably know it well, if not by heart. I’m going to give you a fill in the blank. When I stop talking, you fill in the blank.
"Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s...”
I think George Reeves was the first actor to be Superman on TV.
Back in the 50's, TV actors were not quite as “elite” as some seem to be now. They would throw out the first pitch at a Los Angeles little league game. They would fire the starting pistol for a soap box derby race in Oklahoma City. They would be at the dedication of a statue in a city park in Boise. People could meet them, shake their hand, and, of course, get an autograph.
George Reeves was popular for guest appearances, but his fame included risks. Kids might kick him in the shins or throw rocks to find out if he was the “real” Superman or a “pretend” Superman, the same way kids pull on Santa beards to find out if they are real. It seemed like every time he appeared in public as Superman, someone wanted to put him to the test.
In 1953, he may have faced real-life danger appearing at a department store opening. A young fan, who wanted to see bullets bounce off Superman’s chest, brought his dad’s Army Colt, his dad’s loaded... .45 caliber... Army Colt. Reeves talked him into putting it down. He told the boy that Superman could survive the shot without being hurt, but “when bullets bounce off my chest, they might hurt you and others around here.”
He continued to make public appearances, but never again in the Superman costume.
I said, “he may have faced real-life danger.” I tried to find more details about the incident. I could not find a first hand account, a specific date, or a department store name. Apparently, neither can anyone else.
Some believe Reeves made up the story so he would not have to wear the costume when he appeared in public. It’s understandable. I would not want kids kicking me in the shins or throwing rocks every time I showed up. That story was the only way he could stop the agents and producers from scheduling Superman appearances.
When he appeared in public, children wanted to know. “Is he real or is he pretend?”
God doesn’t have to kick us in the shins or throw rocks at us to know if our devotion is real or pretend. When God sent Samuel to anoint the next king, he was impressed with some of Jesse’s sons, but God said, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” He still does. “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
Memorized prayers when our hearts are far from God are powerless prayers. The most eloquent prayers from an insincere heart are powerless prayers.
Powerless prayers remind me of one of the stories about a man dreaming he died and went to heaven. Jesus personally is showing the man around. He says, “It’s Sunday on earth and your church is in the middle of their service. Would you like to see them?”
The man is ecstatic. He would love to look in on them from a heavenly vantage point. They step over to a balcony he had not noticed before and look in on the congregation. In heaven, his eyes are so sharp he can not only recognize each face as he looks down, he can even read the title of the hymn they are singing. They’re enthusiastically singing one of his favorites. He looks over to Jesus and asks, “Can we listen to them, too?”