How many times are we bold to share what God contributes to the conversation we call prayer? Prayers that ask for many things and have no actual outcomes or at least a word about the expected outcome(s) are are plenty and popular. Prayers are not decrees and declarations of things we want, and especially are not one-to-one, even when private. Prayer is at risk when no community appears in the process, the one addressed is more Santa Claus than divine Father, and the object is not finding God’s will but erasing human situations we find uncomfortable.
A prayer can be a simple cry for help: Peter sinking beneath the waves says “Save me!”. A prayer can have extensive affirmations of God, recapping of His dealings with our forebears and our own personal requests, as did Solomon’s interaction at the inauguration of the temple. Prayer can have few words like Elijah’s success on Mount Carmel or be lengthy and dramatic like the futile chants of Baal’s prophets.
It is highly inappropriate to repeat and circulate a “prayer” that is unrecognizable as a Christian connection to God, or follows the pattern Christ taught. Many prayers that are circulating have the following features.
- Fails to recognize that God has a plan for each of us that includes spiritual growth in grace,
- Does not affirm God’s love in all of our circumstances
- Centers on self
- Avoids what God has promised and programmed
Stop praying like a false prophet
Praying with a lot of words and useless repetitions is strictly forbidden. Our Lord said “Do not even start using empty repetitions…” (me battalogesete). Since we are doing it our response is to cease.
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. Matthew 6:7-8