There was a story of a famous pastor about prayer that I used as a good example of a mature prayer life. This man apparently would pray one hour before his day would start. According to the story, if he saw his schedule to be busier than usual, he’d pray for two hours instead.
I used this story to motivate myself and many others to pray more, but unfortunately it was a very wrong kind of motivation.
Now, I understand that prayer is more than just something to get yourself somewhere in life. It’s not a tool to advance ourselves on earth, but it’s a direct line to communicate with God Himself! Since, it’s so closely knit with the very person of God, it must be treated as such – it’s holy… sacred and to be therefore taken great care of. That it doesn’t become something that is dragged to profanity, even to lower it to just a mere “thing” we Christians do that gets checked off our list in order that we may receive a free pass into heaven.
Unfortunately, I remember other stories wherein believers would use prayer as a means to preach to others rather than speak to God or to make fun of a situation and even to help an entire class of leaders cheat in an exam…
Does God deserve any of this? Did Christ pay with His precious blood through such atrocious circumstances to be then treated with new atrocities such as using praying for anything else other than spending time listening and speaking to Him who has saved us?
No wonder Jesus taught, that if we pray, we do this in private and we don’t let anyone know how long or how great our prayers were towards God – it’s supposed to be a very intimate communication; solely between us and God.
“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.”
Mat 6:5-7 (NASB)