“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.” (Matthew 6:5)
C.W. Renwick said, “The only footprints on the sands of time that will really last, are the ones made after knee-prints!”
I love that statement! As I have come to understand prayer through the years, I believe that when I pray, I am actually asking God to ACT in my life. My prayer allows the hand of God to work in my life so that His will can be accomplished in this world. For the Pharisees, prayer tended to become formalized and therefore lost the relational quality that Jesus encouraged in our prayer life. Jesus pointed out that the hypocrites prayed to be seen by men and prayed in vain repetitions in hopes that God would be pleased with their choice of words.
Two quick lessons…
First, Matthew 6:5 reminds me that all true prayer must be offered TO God and God ALONE. The fault of the hypocrites was they were praying to men — not God. Instead of impressing men with our words, we should pray to have God impress His will upon our hearts.
Second, the God to whom we pray is more ready to answer our prayers than we are to pray. We are not going to a God who has to be coaxed into answering our prayers. We are coming to One whose desire is to give. Allow your prayer life to become a place where God’s will can be accomplished through you. You will not only received a blessing, you will BE a blessing to your family and friends.
Here’s a poem I have kept in my files that I take out and read occasionally…
I knelt to pray when day was done,
And prayed, ‘O Lord bless every one,
Life from every saddened heart the pain,
And let the sick be well again.’
And then I woke another day,
And carelessly went upon my way.
The whole day long I did not try
To wipe a tear from any eye.
I did not try to share the load
Of any brother on the road.
I did not even go to see
The sick man just next door to me.
Yet once again when day was done,
I prayed, ‘O Lord bless everyone.’
But as I prayed, unto my ear,
There came a voice that whispered clear.
‘Pause, hypocrite, before you pray,
Whom has you tried to bless today?
God’s sweetest blessings always go
By hands which serve Him below.’
And then I hid my face and cried,
‘Forgive me, God for I have lied.
Let me but live another day,
And I will live the way I pray!’
I pray that when I look back over my life and ministry — I see many KNEE-PRINTS which will indicate to me that I have truly depended on the power of God to guide me.
Have a great day.