"When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words." Matthew 6:7
Tug-o-war (Photo credit: Thrice 18/3)
Often my prayers seem to fall from my lips to the floor with a thud. One reason this may happen is unconfessed sin, but a second reason can be the words I'm using to talk to God. I find it so frustrating to repeat, "Lord, please be with so and so" or "Help me with my day." What does that mean? Why is it meaningful?
Is this the way you talk to a close friend? Of course not. You don't ask "How are you?" You say, "What did you find out? How did it go? What did Johnny say when you told him?" You are naturally much more specific.
Andrew Murray, a former missionary to South Africa and a noted teacher on prayer, wrote "The more pointed and definite my prayer can be, the better." What can this look like for a homeschooler? Here are a few possibilities:
- "I'm tired and I have a lot to do today. Please give me extra strength, so I can do what needs to be done cheerfully."
- "I don't like geography, but JJ does. Change my feelings, so that I don't put a damper on his enthusiasm."
- "I need to know if I should push CJ in math, or back off for now."
- "I don't have a clue which writing curriculum to buy. What should I do?"
- "TJ isn't reading. Show me what's wrong and what I need to do to help him."
Thank you that I don't need to impress You with my prayers. Thank you that You value my efforts to be real. Help me be direct and clear about everything we need to discuss. Amen.
Final Thought: Talk to God as if He's a close friend, and He will be.