“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
I have not spoken to my congregation about prayer in a few years as a focus and so I figured it was overdue. The thing about prayer as a series is that I plan on going different places in the Bible on this one. Prayer if simply boiled down is talking to God but there are some essential elements that make it more than just talk, they build our spiritual lives. Prayer is more about communion than communication in my view so the elements that build relationships and in particular our relationship with God are very important.
You can’t get to far into the Bible before you see humility and prayer connected. Solomon learns humility is the key to revival at the dedication of the temple and Moses’ life is covered in humility and it allows him to repeatedly intercede for the people of God when they disobey. Humility is not the absence of power but it is the absence of will before God. You come to God in prayer seeking his will and not your own. To many people arrogantly approach prayer as if it is right of the believer. It is not a right, it is a privilege and one that we dare not abuse.
The problem of course with humility is that you can never be sure you have it. Once you think you have arrived at perfect humility and can pat yourself on the back, the very act of patting yourself on the back erases your humility. You must maintain the attitude of a servant to be humble and one cannot do that if you do not give your achievements back to God.
The humble heart when it prays accepts the answer God gives. There is no humility in whining or protesting the answer you receive. Humility is also the key to answered prayer in the first place. God is always looking for humble hearts to respond to. He is anxious to reward those who diligently seek him in humility. It all starts with humility.
The choice before us is clear we can start our prayer life in humility and then maintain it in humility or we can arrogantly presume on God’s grace, God’s forbearance, God’s favor and all the rest that requires humility.