Saturday, April 25, 2009

Church speak

"In Jesus Name Amen" - Said as one word at the end of a prayer
Heal so-and-so "if it be your will" - Indicates one has not already discerned the will of God
"Use this money to further the kingdom"
"Guide, guard and direct us"
"Use this money to further the kingdom"
"Thank you for the cup as it represents Christ's blood shed..."
"Thank you for the bread as it represents Christ's body hanging..."
"Turn to song number..."
"Help us..."
"Let us pray"
"Let us not be..." Salad prayer..."Lettuce not be"
"Children will be dismissed to..."

What other rote statements have you heard?

We as human beings are prone to habitual ways of approaching life even in church. There is nothing wrong with the above statements, per se, they are not blasphemous or evil, necessarily. In fact, people who pray these prayers are still covered by the grace, mercy, and love or Christ (said tongue in cheek). The problem is that rote, mindless prayer that divorces our heart from prayer is like the husband telling his wife he loves her because he is supposed to (like right after she says "You never tell me you love me"), not because his heart is in it. It just ain't going to fly with her. She wants spontaneous statements that she can receive. So does God.

The challenge for us all is to access our hearts during prayer, praise and worship. Getting our spirit to commune with God in cooperation with our body, emotion and soul is much more pleasing to God...HE says so. When we engage in spontaneous, heart-felt anything with God, HE is pleased. God doesn't want a robotic, mindless, checklist-type prayer-life, praise-life, or worship-life. The Pharisees in Jesus' day did that nonstop and Jesus called them white-washed tombs...ouch. I believe the robotic thing actually hurts our heart and chokes the life out of our spirit, leaving us emptier, numb and with less faith in God. God wants engagement, connection and interchange.

I think we can practice things differently, being more open and expressive little by little frees our heart to express openly and honestly before God. The idea is to become less robotic and more expressive with God.

ALWAYS pray out loud. In church, pray quietly even when being led by someone else.

Try saying something different to God when you are spending time with Him.

Catch your own rote sentences and find a fresh new way to say the same things.

Write out your prayers and jot down more personal ways of speaking to God.

Express your love to God like you would express love to a lover...Like David did in Psalms.

Sing your prayers.

Ask God to give you the words to pray. Let the Holy Spirit convict your heart and give you the words to speak to God.

Allow fresh words and statements into your prayers and see if more of your heart engages in prayer.

Has anything else worked for you to engage your heart in prayer?

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