Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Pray and Breathe
“For Christians, prayer is like breathing.” That’s the opening line of John MacArthur’s study of prayer called Alone with God. Of course, the fact that so many of us hold our spiritual breath for so long is the reason why he wrote the book; and why this article is written. Jesus’ teaching about prayer in the Sermon on the Mount did not first address those who don’t pray much. He first addressed those who prayed a lot – at least in public.
I can imagine that those who stood in the synagogues or on street corners going on and on with their babbling thinking they would be heard because of their word count weren’t closet prayers. Closet prayers are only heard by God. These people weren’t praying to be heard by God. Unless they kept the closet door open, no one was likely to hear them and the purpose for their prayer is defeated.
To be quite honest with you, I believe that the people who pray publicly in my circles are not praying to be heard by men. I think we are too presumptuous about motives when we hear people saying some of our most famous prayer phrases, then assume that their prayer is not genuine. I think people just want to pray right – to be heard by God and to effectively lead the family.
It is possible, though, that our pure motives in public prayer are the only way that we are different from the hypocrites that Jesus addressed. How long have you held your spiritual breath? How long has it been since it was just you before the throne adoring, confessing, giving thanks, pledging loyalty, and petitioning? Has it been a month? A week? Has it even been a day since you knelt in private before the Almighty? Pray now…and breathe! That’s Life at Work!