“Instead of long, loud and fancy, the prayers that move God are simple, authentic, and heartfelt. But simple is not the same as safe.” (Page 16)
In Matthew 6, Jesus talks about the hypocrites who pray these ‘long, loud and fancy prayers’ to God in front of others. Craig reinforces this point saying that they are useless because they don’t move God’s heart. This is beautiful for those of us who don’t use fancy words. Some of us barely use 3 syllable words in our sentences, let alone 4 syllable words! And Jesus says that’s okay. Education doesn’t allow one more access into heaven. Intellect doesn’t grant one specially privilege to ask for more in their prayers. The prayers that move God are simple, authentic and heartfelt!
This doesn’t mean one is not allowed to be intellectual or flowery in their language. Of course, you can be! But it should stem from a place of authenticity! If you’re great with words and you’ve spent time honing the skills of a poet, then use those skills in the best way you can: to please the God of the universe, not to impress others. Someone asked me once if I would rather hear a straightforward praise of God or someone using eloquent and intellectual terms to do so. I told them, “I would love to hear the language of a poet who praises God. But from me, you may just want a prayer that gets to the point.” Those who have been given the skill should use it to the glory of God!
God knows you. He sees you. He desires to hear from you. Not someone somebody told you to be. Not someone you’re striving to be. Be the person you are now. If you’re nervous, share that. If you’re tired, share that. If you’re energized and ready to go, share that! You can be simple but that doesn’t mean you should be safe.
Each of us has a growth zone, a place outside our comforts that we’re scared to go because we are scared that while there, we are in incredible danger. Although, to your immediate circumstances, that may be true, we speak the truth to ourselves that there is no place safer than following God. Yes we may break something or we may suffer injury or loss, but ultimately, we trust in the one who saves our soul. Scripture says, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28 ESV).
Why is that? Jesus continues. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your heard are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31).
You, right now, you are more valuable than many sparrows so much so that God knows everything about you even down to the hairs on your head! He knows everything about you. Come to the throne of God with transparency, not because he doesn’t know, but because he wants you to humbly approach not putting up a mask showing something more than what you are. He wants every wall to come down. He wants every mask to come off and the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, wants to have a relationship with me. And it’s dangerous to come totally exposed, but when you do, you’ll experience love so much greater because he knows everything about you.
Parkland Community Church:
We Exist to Develop People Who Love Jesus and Serve Others.
William ConLead Pastor
William has been the Lead Pastor of
Parkland Community Church since Nov. 2018