September 2

And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. Matthew 6:5

Enemies of prayer II: Insincerity
Insincerity in prayer is a deadly poison. It is odd that many people suddenly become very serious when they pray – their voices become ‘religious’, their heads are bowed and their hands folded. But all this is comical unless it is genuine. When we pray we should not be heavy with a sense of doom, but carried heavenwards by a sense of the imminent arrival of God in the situation. This is not to say that there is never a crushing burden in the heart of one who prays, but the dominant note in the praying life is one of the releasing companionship of Jesus Christ. Jesus raises our hopes, causes us to laugh at our own seriousness about ourselves. The person who prays has a sense of delight at the centre of their being – a sense of the reality of Christ and His power and provision. When Jesus was asked to pray for Jairus’ daughter, He was astonished at the mourners, because their wailing was so clearly insincere. If He were to appear in many of our prayer meetings, He would be astonished at our incredible sense of religious self-importance. The answer to insincerity is to talk to Jesus in a normal voice, to address Him as you would a friend or a loving counsellor. Tell Him how you really feel. If there is a matter about which you are asked to pray, and about which you feel no burden then, above all, do not pretend! This will poison faith in your heart and in those who hear you pray. Tell Him exactly how you see things. Start from where you are. Prayer is letting God have access into our lives, and that means letting Him into our spiritual weakness. As soon as we do this, the adventure of prayer begins.