Do you “Pray” – or do you “SAY” your prayers?
Yes, folks, there IS a difference. I always urge people to pray, not just “say your prayers”. Prayer – whether you are a Christian, Jew, or believer – should be our interaction with our Maker. Many of us believe deeply God is our Father. (Be watching for a sermon real soon on our real destiny.) Any father or mother wants their child to come speak with them from his/her heart. You wouldn’t want your daughter saying someone else’s words – no matter how well-crafted they are, no matter how much more elegant they are than what your six-year old might say on her own. I would want my child saying what’s on his heart – NOT words someone else wrote hundreds or thousands of years ago. So quit “saying grace”, quit “saying your prayers” – and just start praying; start talking from your heart.
Read the rest of this blog for instructions from Yeshua on how to pray.
Yeshua (Jesus) said that when we pray (read Matthew 6:5-13):
• DON’T do your main prayers in the public venue but in the privacy of your own room. Daniel prayed from the privacy of his room as he looked out the window (Dan. 6:10), 3x a day. It says “he prayed”, not “he said his prayers”.
• Speak your heart – not just any vain repetition. Even the sample prayer our Master gave us, commonly called “the Lord’s Prayer”, can become a vain repletion. He was just teaching us a framework. Honor and praise Father and His hallowed name YHVH first. Then pray for Him to send Yeshua soon to set up the Kingdom; Pray HIS will be done here on earth. Then pray for your daily needs (Give us this day our daily bread) and while at it, pray for others’ daily needs. Be intercessory.
If you’re Jewish, put down the Siddur (Book of Prayers) and just talk to your Maker one-on-one. Yourself. Your words. Don’t worry about not knowing how to elegantly pray. I promise you, He is much more likely to hear and be pleased with your heart-felt prayer, in your own words, than He is with someone else’s crafted prayer. Call Him “Father”. Yes, sure, it’s OK to call him “the Blessed One”, or “King of the Universe”, but try saying “My Father”. Try “MY King”. Then tell Him what you really feel like telling Him. Ask Him what you really feel like asking Him. Yes, that’s OK. Yes, that’s even better than someone else’s prayer you’re reading.
Even we mere mortals are delighted to hear the awkward attempts of our toddlers learning to speak their first words. “Dad-dah”—we know she’s trying to say “Daddy”. Everyone in the room exclaims, “HEY, did you hear her? She just said “dad-dah”!
The Father from whom we get the name “Father” is the same way. HE put all that into us. Just PRAY. Just talk to and with Him. And sometimes just be quiet, get your pad of paper out and a pen and ask Him to speak to you. Sometimes you’ll find yourself writing rapidly the thoughts coming into your head, and yes - -sometimes that could BE your Father communicating with you.
In these winter months (summer for my Australian and southern hemisphere family), use this time to connect with Abba, our dear Father. (And hello to all you Southern Hemisphere family!)
I have several sermons on this website about prayer. Go to the link “Audio Messages and Transcripts” and look up the link for Prayer. I recommend you hear those messages, especially the series on “Hearing God’s Voice”. Or maybe the sermon on “WHY Pray?” is one you need. There are also sermons on there about Hindered Prayer. I have enough problems without having to have ineffective prayer! Now that’s a huge problem! So check it out – and open the lines to our Maker.
The real PURPOSE of “religion” is not to go to a church building, or to be part of a man-made organization. Hey, we ARE the church; we don’t “GO to church”. The real purpose is not to feel blessed or holy or something (though we ARE blessed and set-apart holy). The ultimate purpose is to love God and love mankind. The ultimate reason we have a spiritual component to living, is to strengthen relationships. The one true living God is all about close and loving relationships. His very commandments were given to be sure we respect one another’s relationships, so we don’t murder, we don’t steal what belongs to another, nor do we flirt with or commit adultery with someone else’s wife or husband. We’ve all broken God’s laws, but now we repent and start walking HIS Way, led by His Spirit in us. And all of that strengthens relationships – with Him and each other.
Prayer—when we really pray from our hearts -- should draw us near to God. It should strengthen our relationship with Him and one another.
Proper religion nudges us to want to be with our FAMILY – caring for “family” on earth and family in heaven. God is our “FATHER”, He’s part of our family in heaven (read Ephesians 3:14-15), for real. And you are my brothers and sisters on earth, for real – if you are led by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:14). It doesn’t matter if you’re in Japan or Sweden, if you are led by God’s Spirit, you’re part of my family. I don’t belong to a religion or an organization. I belong to Christ and so do you. So stay in touch with your Father, your Saviour and your true earthly family too!
Now go pray – using your own words from your own heart, privately and joyfully, and stop “saying your prayers”. Just talk to Him. Yes, that’s prayer.