We should be careful to make sure that our prayers to God are not just words to fill empty space. I read A Prayer by Gary Block. It talked about how people sometimes pray to God, just using repetitive prayer to ask God for things.
Usually, these prayers are part of tradition. Like for example, at my house, we have a dinner prayer that typically goes “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food…” and you should already know the rest.
Sometimes the meanings get lost in all the repetition. We say the prayers because we feel like we should say them or just because we always say them before we eat. But we should say prayers for more than just that.
Why do you pray?
I pray to express my love for the Lord. To thank Him for blessing me with food, food that many others are not fortunate to have. I thank Him for my family and the relationships I have with my friends. I pray to express my joy of having His strength in my life.
When I pray, I take care to make sure that I am not just saying empty words. I pray as if I am His friend, and I am speaking to His heart, like a friend would speak to another friend.
Some people would argue that prayer doesn’t work. But I would say otherwise. I think the more we put our heart into it, the more we have faith that God will take care of us when we pray, the more intently He listens to our prayers.
Think about it! If we respect Him and love Him enough to pray sincerely, it makes sense that He would return that love back to us. Why would He listen to a prayer from an insincere heart? Why should He listen to an apathetic voice? Voices that seem distant in their love and attitude?
If I had a friend and they were insincere and fake, I would not waste my time on them. But if they really cared about me and took time to really talk to me, I would return the favor.
When I go to bed at night, I try to make sure my prayers are not mundane mantras that I say over and over again to no avail. I want to let God know what’s on my mind, on my heart. I ask Him for what I need and try to remain humble and ask for what others need, too.
That’s another important part of prayer: humility. Realizing that the needs of others sometimes should be put above our own needs. Instead of praying for more money or clothes, I might pray that my friend stops feeling sick or that my sister stops fighting with dad, or that someone in poverty might receive some grace from God and have their physical and emotional needs met.
It can be a battle, I know. But we must fight against meaningless prayers and be sure we are sincere with our words. Because I can assure you, God will return that sincerity. He may answer your prayers in big ways, or small ways that are barely noticeable, but that still make a difference. He could answer it soon after you ask, or months or even years after you ask. He could answer it in a way that you don’t expect Him to answer it, which is typically how He answers my prayers. However, one thing always remains the same: He is always willing to listen to a loving and caring heart.