We read in Matthew 6:7-8 Jesus’ advice on how not to pray… essentially, don’t do what the Pagans do. Don’t babble on. Did Jesus say this because He dislikes long prayers? I don’t think so… I think Jesus is referring to babbling prayers that have become all about me, myself and I. That’s the problem with prayer… when we make prayer about me, and not about God.
I recognise that, like the Pagans in this bible story, I’ve often made prayer all about me in 3 ways:
1) I’ve made prayer about me, when I treat my prayer time like a Shopping List!
God absolutely wants you to bring your wants, needs, requests and cares to God, he really cares about those things (1 Peter 5:7). But don’t end your prayers there. Prayer is about so much more then demanding things from God. When we pray, from a place of surrendering to God’s plan, and trusting in Him, we put God back in the driving seat of our prayer life.
2) I’ve made prayer about me, when I approach prayer like an audition.
The pagans babbled on in their prayers, as if the longer their prayers, the more likelihood of God answering them. But long prayers, holy words and religious jargon won’t impress our way to God. God is after your heartfelt, authentic conversation with him. Our prayers also don’t need to impress others. Don’t let the fear of your prayers not being good enough, hold you back from voicing your prayers.
3) I’ve made prayer about me, when I do all the talking.
It’s fair to say that a healthy conversation is always two way. Talking AND Listening. I sense that listening, didn’t factor much in the way the Pagans were praying in Matthew 6:7-8. But if I’m honest, shutting up and listening to God doesn’t come naturally in my own prayer life either. But I truly believe that learning to create the quiet and tune our ears into God’s voice will accelerate our prayer life like we wouldn’t believe.