Okay, so what I’m about to say may sound a little dramatic. Just bear with me.
There’s an epidemic in the church. Those of us who call ourselves Christians; we who love and are saved by Jesus Christ.
We’ve fallen into jealousy and comparison in a sacred area: prayer.
I’d call that something serious. We’ve somehow turned God’s most intimate way of communication with us into a contest. I have sat in more groups of women and college students and people older than me who have said, “Oh, I wish I could pray like that.” “Oh, I can’t pray out loud. It doesn’t sound good.”
Some of this may sound harsh, but I think maybe it’s what we need to hear. Could you imagine how your Dad feels hearing you say that? We’re essentially saying to Him, “The words I have to say to you don’t sound as put together as someone else’s, so I’m just gonna pass.” If it grieves me, I can’t imagine how He feels.
Don’t take my word for it. Read it here:
“But whenever you pray, go into your innermost chamber and be alone with Father God, praying to Him in secret. And your Father, who sees all you do, will reward you openly. When you pray, there is no need to repeat empty phrases, praying like those who don’t know God, for they expect God to hear them because of their many words. There is no need to imitate them, since your Father already knows what you need before you ask Him.” [Matthew 6:6-8 TPT]
Wait, wait. Did you see those few words? “There is no need to imitate them.” I know what it is you’re thinking as you hear the prayers you’re measuring yourself up to. As they use scripture and well-formed words, you’re thinking, “Okay, they know God in a way that I just don’t. There’s no way I could memorize scripture that way. God must hear them more than He hears me.”
Listen to me. You have no idea where they are with God. They may have a bunch of regurgitated statements and Bible verses that they use over and over and they have no real connection with Jesus. Or they may love Jesus so desperately, their intimacy with Him just radiates around them. Can I tell you something? It doesn’t matter.
We’ve got to stop it. We have to. We are forfeiting power that’s been bought for us because of insecurity and jealousy. This is a complete work of the enemy that we aren’t even aware of. If he can’t stop us from praying, he can absolutely whisper words like these:
“You’ll never be like them.”
“God probably doesn’t even hear you.”
“You’re definitely not that spiritual.”
“They’ve got so much more power than you. Why even try?”
Those are not your own thoughts. They are straight from hell. Here’s what God says:
“I hear you.”
“I love to hear your voice lifted up to Me, no matter what it sounds like.”
“Come to Me boldly, with assurance of faith.”
“Come to Me with innocence like a little kid. I’m not impressed with false maturity or humility.”
We are measuring ourselves in a way that God is not. Is He hoping that you will grow in your comfort and intimacy with Him? Heck yes. But is He calculating where you are in relation to those around you? It’s the absolute furthest thing from the truth.
So, without any fluff or roundabout way to say it:
Cut it out.
When you hear a beautiful prayer, thank God for how he’s using their words. When you pray, you are literally talking to your Father. Savior, Redeemer, Friend, King. Don’t take it lightly, but don’t mistake it for what it’s not. You are not praying to impress anyone at all. He is already infatuated with you. You aren’t praying to earn His approval or acceptance. You have it. So stop trying to work for it from Him or anyone else.
He’s listening. Every. Single. Time. Every time you direct your words toward heaven, He’s on the edge of His seat, waiting to answer. He’s moving. He’s answering. He’s actively tuning His ear to your voice. It’s a miraculous gift that we have diluted.
So, stop. Talk to your Dad.
“Since we have this confidence, we can also have great boldness before Him, for if we ask anything agreeable to His will, He will hear us.” [1 John 5:14 TPT]