We strategize before we pray.
Have you ever met someone who seemed rehearsed? One of my favorite scenes from the movie Pride and Prejudice is when their cousin Collin comes over for dinner and is “entertaining” the table with his vivid personality. His movements are blocky, his language painfully predictable, and everyone, including the viewer, wants the meal to end as soon as possible.
Why is it so bad? Because it’s dead.
Life is unpredictable, that is part of its charm. That is also why we pay big bucks to ride on rollercoasters and see horror films; the unpredictable translates into fear. But as long as the fear can be controlled, fenced in and managed, its actually kind of enjoyable.
Few of us are willing to take that sort of risk with God. I know in my own prayer times I tend to lean towards the dead rehearsed prayers, rather than a genuine conversation with God. It’s easy, safe. Plus it won’t disrupt my precious routine. You never ask God to interrupt your routine because you know that’s one prayer he loves to answer immediately!
So when I say I strategize I actually mean we kill our prayers before they ever get a chance to be spoken. We think, God if I am predictable with you than you have to be predictable with me too. And maybe, just maybe, this little thing over here that I want will go unnoticed because my prayers never hinted at it!
Trying to fool God? You can categorize that under really poor decisions that will inevitably backfire (like cheese-frisbee, but that’s another story). There is certainly a time to write out your prayers. A time to carefully craft what you want to express to God in order to worship and honor him more reverently. But when you strategize its never to honor God, it’s to keep him out of the loop. We fear that if we just start praying, before long what’s really on our heart is going to jump out and we won’t have anywhere to run.
Before we can wrestle we have to pray. Honestly and painfully unguarded.
Do the words you pray truthfully reflect what’s going on inside?