Weekly Thought – November 3, 2020
Fred prayed diligently all his life. A permanent imprint on the “Smith kids” was made walking past the bedroom and seeing their strong Dad on his knees by the bed. Mary Alice had a private prayer list which she kept next to the bed on the nightstand. They faithfully prayed. This week features a few thoughts of his on prayer.
Honesty with God
In prayer we can get honest. One night a good friend and I were in a scattershooting conversation, covering a variety of topics. Prayer came up and he offered his opinion that it is a waste of time to try to get God to fill a “gimme list.” He seriously doubted the mature faith of those who were always plying God with requests. I tried to redirect his thinking. I believe prayer is more for us than it is for God. I did this by saying prayer was always a great help to me in getting honest when I wanted to be genuinely truthful.
Above my writing desk I hung the picture of a Jewish scholar whom I consider the greatest intellectual integrity of almost anyone I have ever met. As I would write I would glance up at his picture ask evaluate my honesty. I think of prayer much like that. If I believe God hears me, is who He claims to be, and is all-knowing, I must be honest when I talk with Him.
I have made it a practice when considering a business deal to spread it out on my desk and talk to God about it exactly like I talk to another person. No great lights go on, but I do get a sense of singlemindedness, purity of thought, and a stillness of heart when I know I am gut-level honest.
Of course there is a flip side. When I don’t want to be that open, I don’t lay it out on the desk acting like God won’t know. We can’t hide from God. Intellectual integrity reminds me God knows whether I show it to Him or not. For me it is so much better to be honest before Him.
This principle applies to relationships, too, whether family, friendships, or social interactions. Questions in all of these areas can be brought to a very honest conclusion if we learn to use prayer. We must train ourselves to “put it all out on the table” and talk about it with God.
Too many people still use a ritualistic form of prayer which keeps them from having a good, honest conversation with God. I will never forget when I first heard about conversational prayer. I was with Torrey Johnson, who established Youth For Christ. We had been talking and as we prepared to leave he said, “Let’s pray.” He started out by saying, “Lord, you know we’re just a couple of young men here who have been chewing the rag.” At this point I opened up one eye, literally, and looked around because I knew he was talking to somebody and wondered if that person was in the room. I also wondered if the roof would cave in if I ever talked to God like that. I learned to pray in Olde English!
But it is hard to have a completely relaxed, honest conversation with God trying to remember all my Thee and Thou phrases.
At a men’s meeting one participant stood to pray and started, “God, this is Joe. Remember me? I met you last week at the Jones’s house.” THAT is setting the stage for an honest conversation.
This week think about: 1) How often do I try to hide from God? 2) What do I have laying out on the table before God right now? 3) Who needs encouragement in practicing “gut level honest” prayer?
Words of Wisdom: “We must train ourselves to “put it all on the table” and talk about it with God.”
Wisdom from the Word: “He commanded them: “Carry out your duties with respect for the LORD, with honesty, and with pure motives.” (2 Chronicles 19:9 NET Bible)