Monday, July 27, 2009

Jester Monologues

Last night at the gathering of our community (Church) we studied the spiritual discipline of prayer. This is a discipline I have difficulties with for several reasons. Last night at one point I just felt this very heavy burden that just repeated over and over in my head, “I’ve got this all wrong.” If you keep up with my blog then you have become very familiar with my questioning of everything and comparing what I’m taught or hear to what the Bible says. I am a skeptic, but one who seeks knowledge rather than only criticize. This often leads me into criticizing myself too. Last night was one of those times when I would be confronted and challenged by what the Bible says and it would be more skeptical of me and my ways than me of it. We read through Matthew (6:5-13) where Jesus teaches the disciples about prayer.

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” This, then, is how you should pray:’ Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

I pray best when I am in a group or with a close friend. I have been told it is important to pray together. I took that straight to my girl one day and demanded that we begin praying together. I used to go to this prayer group and I was always the guy who prayed the longest. I don’t feel like I use big words or anything, I feel like I am really authentic. When others have prayed in groups before I always question their hearts when they are praying because I just think to myself, “come on, be serious, is this really how you speak to God?” I am ashamed to write this blog, but think this pain of realization is necessary for my growth. I’ve realized I have a very big ego and love to show others how religious I am. I need a group to pray with and do so very well, but barely speak to God when I am alone, and rarely ever listen. Instead of prayer being an intimate private two way conversation that forms a part of my lifestyle it is more like a ritualistic monologue performed before an audience. I’ve been playing jester in the Kings court and never really seen myself behind the make up before last night.

How Jesus taught the disciples to pray looks nothing like what I call a prayer life looks nothing like what I’ve been told I should do, looks nothing like dependence on God, but more like a honey-do list. I even looked up a topical index of praying together on a Christian web-site and cannot even say what verses are quotes as evidence of praying together are accurately interpreted or appropriate for my context. Take a look for yourself, but I see no commands of praying together in context, without being twisted. A honey-do list is something a husband is given by his wife with a bunch of different tasks on it. Is this how we are to treat God? It is amazing to me that He even listens to me because I am so messed up, shouldn’t I respond by listening to Him? I think this is something we should all reconsider and reflect on. Compare your ideals and actions of prayer to what Jesus taught…This is a tough tasks, but I think it is a worth while one.

I know where I stand and my realization is shamefully true: I’ve been playing jester in the Kings court and never really seen myself behind the make up before last night. Are you putting on a show for God and others or is it truly what Jesus taught?

8 comments:

  1. When you started your relationship with god, it was one on one, not praying through a group.
    God is your best friend, as well as, your saveyor. You don't always need to drop to your knees, and bow your head. Speak as you walk, and/or standing as if speaking with the greatest friend that you ever had. (Because God Is)
    Group is great, but the bottom line is its between you and him, not thim and him.

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