Pray from your heart

‘When you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production.

Matthew 6:5 MSG

Jesus said the Pharisees turned prayer into ‘a theatrical production’, and that God wasn’t moved by it. Author John Ortberg points out five things about them: ‘1) Their prayers had become a shallow exercise rather than a deep relationship-building one. 2) They were rituals, rather than authentic expressions of a loving heart. 3) They were long and wordy, designed to impress others. 4) They were filled with meaningless clichés. 5) They became a cause for pride rather than an opportunity to express humble reliance on God.’ When it comes to prayer, Jesus said: ‘Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace. The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply’ (vv.6-8 MSG). We can pray anywhere, at any time: in our cars, in the bathroom, lying in bed, while we’re exercising, or at work. God wants our prayer times to be spontaneous, personal, and honest. We shouldn’t be praying because we think we have to or because we think it will impress other people around us. Prayer should be something that we long to do so that we grow in our relationship with God. He wants us to pray from our hearts.

What now?

Take the advice in Matthew 6:6-8. Find a quiet place and just come before God, simply and honestly.

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