True, sincere prayer

Do you ever find yourself praying for people or situations and using the same phrases over and over?  They can even be phrases and prayers straight out of the Bible.  The end of 2 Peter has a wonderful prayer for the believers to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I pray this for my children and other people’s children all the time.  I have faith that God hears and honors these prayers.  But am I always praying with a sincere heart or am I just whipping out these tried and true phrases?  Am I lifting up people to the Father and asking Him how I should pray, or am I just going through the list to get it done?  Jesus talks about Gentiles heaping up empty phrases thinking they would be heard by their many words. (Matthew 6)  Man looks at the outside, but God looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)  The Lord tells Samuel that He doesn’t see as man sees.  And Jesus tells his disciples that the Father sees in secret and rewards those who pray with sincerity.

Sometimes I think I need to add just one more trusty biblical phrase (Prov. 3:5-6; Col. 1:9; Ps. 119:9,11; etc.) to make sure my prayer for this person is properly rounded out.  But this Scripture clearly speaks of how the Lord sees things. 

“The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.” Ps. 11:4

Let us take delight in fearing His name, especially in prayer.  He is painstakingly scrupulous in His knowledge of us and our hearts. (Hebrews 4:13)  And yet He is our Father and delights to hear our prayers. (Let the little children come to me.) They are sweet smelling incense before His throne (Rev. 5, Ps. 141)  Let us keep this tension alive and fresh before us.  A great price was paid to tear the veil in two and give us access to this throne of grace.  Go back and read Leviticus sometime and remind yourself of what it took to gain access to our God.   

We have a precious and holy boldness now.  Treasure this and never take it for granted.


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