Summary: If our prayer life is to grow and thrive, we must first remove those things that keep us from being fruitful
Removing the Pits from your Prayer Life
June 25, 2006
When I was growing up I used to spend a lot of time with one of my friend Randy. We did all sorts of things together: we played basketball, we hunted snakes, we went fishing together, we went to the movies and all sorts of things like that.
Randy and I also had something else in common we both love peach cobbler. One time when I was visiting Randy’s house, he was given the task of cutting the peaches into slices for the cobbler. I voulnteered to help because that would make the job go faster. Then we could get back to basketball and eat cobbler that much quicker.
One thing that made the job more difficult was the fact that those peaches had pits in them. Not just small ones but great big pits. Most unfortuantely I forgot that fact when I tried to eat one of the peaches. I took a great big bite and right into the pit I went. First, it didn’t taste too good and second, it kind of hurt my teeth. I grew to hate peach pits.
Peaches would be so much easier to eat without those pits. Life has a lot of things that are the “pits”. Pits aren’t serious problems just things that seem to annoy us. Long lines at the grocery store. Slow service at the McDonald’s drive thru. Getting cut off during rush hour traffic on 275. Pits are a part of life, we just need to deal with them.
It might surprise you but many people need to deal with the pits in their prayer life as well. We allow little annoyances and small things get us off track in our prayer times.
If you have your Bibles with you open them to Matthew 6:5-8. This morning I want to look at how Jesus taught the dsiciples to deal with the pits in their prayer life.
5 "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6:5-8
I. The pit of a fake motive
In verse 5, Jesus makes a simple and clear statement, when you pray but I would argue that this statement is anything but simple. It is a radical call to be a radical people. Jesus lays out an expectation for His disciples to be people of prayer. often we apply this lesson to the just the dsicples of Jesus’ day. Let’s get something clear right away, disciple simply means one who follows and you CANNOT claim to follow Jesus without having a prayer life. notice that this is not a suggestion, jesus used the word when not if.
You cannot be a New Testament Christian if you do not have a prayer life - Jim Cymbala
Jesus also gives a clear warning about prayer here to the disciples and it begins with do not. It is a warning to not pray with a wrong motive.
Look at what Jesus says here, do not be like the hypocrites. We look at this and think automatically that this line could never describe us. The Greek word that Jesus uses here is hupokrites which was used in Greek theater. This word was used to describe an actor who wore a mask and played a specific role. A hypocrite is a person who pretends to e something they are not. An actor playing a specific role and nothing more.
How many people coe to church wearing “masks”? How often do we show up just to “play the part”?
We hide our pain, our turmoil, our trials our anger behind the mask of a painted smile and fake our way through. We put up masks to hide our brokenness. We put up masks to hide our true feelings and emotions.
We show up at church to fulfill our role, whatever it may be. We take on a role, play the part.
Let me tell you a simple fact, God sees through every mask you wear and every role you play. there is no hiding yourself from God. You cannot be hypoctical with God because He knows the truth already.