Humanity's biggest problems stem from our failure to pause and think before we act.
This is why so many of us live paycheck-to-paycheck, ruin relationships in a few short moments, fail to plan for retirement, and will ultimately spend eternity in hell.
Too often, we act on impulse rather than careful planning.
String together a number of these events and you make a day, a week, a year, a decade, a lifetime. We may well be thoughtful and intentional in certain areas of our life and the complete opposite in other areas.
Prayer is one area where we can fail to think before acting.
In any relationship, we must put forth sincere effort in order to strengthen, or even maintain, the relationship.
Imagine what would happen if ...
... you said the same words to your spouse or friend ...
... in the same order ...
... at the same time ...
... every day?
How long would it take the other person to bore of this shallow conversation?
This is one reason so many marriage books have been written about rekindling the fire that has gone out.
And this is exactly what we're often guilty of doing with GOD.
As the Almighty, GOD deserves our awe and respect.
As our Father, He longs to have a close loving relationship with us.
As the Holy One, GOD demands our holiness and obedience.
As our Justifier, He sympathizes with our weaknesses.
As our Judge, He requires justice and an account of deeds and thoughts.
As our Justifier, He provides us mercy and grace to overcome our sins.
The point is this: GOD is the most complex Being in existence. Of any relationship we have, He is worthy of the most attention and effort, not for what He can do for us, but because of who He is!
So, when we pray, let's put some thought into it.
Determine to stop saying the same phrases and, instead, shake things up.
Humans are creatures of habit. We gravitate towards routines and patterns, because there is comfort in the known.
In fact, most of our fears are due to the unknown.
Routines can be a blessing.
For example, with athletes or musicians, a common saying is, "Practice makes perfect." They practice until they can complete the action or task without even having to think about it. It's like they're on autopilot. This improves accuracy and quality of that task.
When it comes to relationships, however, routines can be our enemy, and so it is with prayer.
So mix up your wording to keep things fresh, even when expressing frequent requests or praises.
Stop repeating phrases you've heard or used that have become meaningless.
- "Bless this food to our bodies and our bodies to your service."
- "Guide, guard and direct us."
- "Bring us back at the next appointed time."
- "Bless the hands that prepared this meal."
Give me a break.
We would hate it if any person said the same things to us over and over. Why would we think GOD would be happy with this?
Lastly, think about this: Who benefits when I pray—me or GOD?
Obviously, the answer is: I do.
GOD isn't going to grow or love me more or be smarter or more powerful or more compassionate because I prayed.
In fact, the reality is He has already experienced this moment because He exists outside the confines of time, so He already knows what I'll say and what His response will be when I pray. He has seen the end before the beginning even occurred.
So, if I'm the one who benefits from prayer, then I should think about how effectively my prayer time is, so that I can improve, leading to more growth.
Ever heard the phrase, "You get out of something what you put into it?"
When it comes to prayer, I believe this is true. GOD draws near to those who draw near to Him (Jam. 4:8).
Let's think before we pray.
What about you? Have you fallen into the Rote Prayer Rut TM? Found ways to get more out of prayer time? I'd like to learn from you.