My Beloved Daughter was soaking in the Word this week when she ran across a passage that left her unsettled.
The Word says, "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. (Matthew 6:7)." Anna was concerned because she pours her whole heart out to the Lord. She tells Him all about her day--good and bad parts. She tells Him if she is concerned about something, and when she is mad, she unleashes on Him instead of people. Her question: Mom, is that babbling?
I pointed out verses like:
Cast all your care upon Him for He cares for you.--Psalm 55:22 and 1 Peter 5:7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.--Philippians 4:6-7
"Then what is 'babbling'?"
I explained that folks often say prayers without thinking about what they are saying. Rote prayers are common.
"God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. Amen."
Do we really think about how great and good God is that we are eating the food we have, or do we just give lip service because that is what we are to do at meals?
Bedtime prayers can be the same way. We say the same thing, or virtually the same thing, every night and never really stop and think about what we are praying. We're supposed to say something to acknowledge God, so we do. We talk at God, not to God. That is babbling.
I gave her an example from the Bible--The Lord's Prayer. Many of us can recite it, and I will admit I've used it when my heart was so heavy I had no words. I admit for a long time my children and I prayed it every day at nap time because I wanted it deep into their memories. I wanted it firmly planted in their mind.
At some point, though, God has to go from our mind to our heart. Our prayers cannot be merely words we recite because someone told us they were good. Our prayers are to words of relationship, an acknowledgement of who we are and Who we know God is.
With that premise in mind, we talked about The Lord's Prayer in terms of relationship, not rote memorization.
These are the thoughts I shared with her. I hope they bless you, too.
The Lord’s Prayer
(the Mommy Translation)
Our Father who is in Heaven,
Father—the Loving One who meets all my needs, whose heart is for my good, who desires only the best for me, who is willing to die for me to live, who loves me enough to discipline and correct me, and leads me and teaches me to be like Him, who enjoys my company and delights in me, who will never abandon me or forsake me, hunts me down when I mess up or miss hearing you
In Heaven—Above all things, all situations, all circumstances, all needs, all sickness, all authority, all of the earth
Holy is your name.
You are holy. It is a defining characteristic of who you are. You cannot lie, cannot change, cannot do less than perfect. You deserve all of my respect, honor, and obedience.
Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Your kingdom is a kingdom of blessing, salvation, healing, and prosperity.
Your will is that none should perish but all know Jesus as Savior.
I give you permission to use my life and all influence you give me to bless others, lead others to salvation, heal others, and prosper them.
Show me your will for my life so that I can release your glory, your presence, and your spirit into this world so that you may save and heal those which are lost.
Give us this day our daily bread,
I refuse to worry about tomorrow. Meet my needs for today. Give me the strategy for living today, what to do, how to use my time and resources, and where to invest.
I refuse to lose today by focusing on what can and should be done tomorrow or being ashamed or regretful of anything in the past.
Show me Your plan for TODAY so that I can be fed body, soul, mind, and spirit and give of my abundance to others.
And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Father, I know I sin, and I need you to forgive me.
I also ask that you would show me if I have offense against anyone because I do not want to hold on to it. You have forgiven me out of the love in your heart, not because I earned it. I do not expect others to earn my forgiveness either. Instead, I choose to freely give it.
When my flesh tries to hold on to offense, enable me to let it go and walk in the freedom of forgiveness-both received and given.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Father, protect my heart, mind, and spirit. You are my refuge and stronghold. Remind me of your promises, your strength, your love, your faithfulness, and your mercy. Go before me and behind me. I trust you to not leave or forsake me but to lead me for your name’s sake.
For yours is the power and the glory and the honor forever.
You are all powerful. There is nothing that can stand up against you. There is no sickness—mental or physical, no kingdom, no lie, no temptation, no need of any form, no prison, no form of captivity, NOTHING that can stand against you. You are powerful above ALL.
All glory and honor is given to you because all good things come from you. All freedom comes from you. All life comes from you. All joy comes from you. You deserve all the glory and honor belong to you because you have kept your promises and stayed true to your name.
Father, let it be so.
Copyright Jerri Phillips 2008