“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” – Matthew 6:6
This morning, even very early, the first two new blogs on my WordPress reader were about Paula White’s prayer for Donald Trump, and they were not affirming of what she prayed. I won’t repeat her prayer nor what the bloggers wrote. I don’t know her heart or her sincerity. My own confession about prayer is this: I pray only to Jesus Christ or my Father in heaven. My prayers are not long, nor eloquent, and they are between God and me. I have never been completely comfortable praying in a group, especially when “waiting for my turn.” Why not? Two reasons: Since I am very hard of hearing, I notice how the other people lower their voices to almost a whisper when they offer their prayer, almost as if they too are not comfortable with other people hearing their prayer. That’s a huge problem for me, because most people lower their voice so much I can’t even understand a word, nor can I be sure when they are done.
The second reason is related: I am rehearsing my prayer, talking to myself all the while instead of communing with my Lord. It’s too much like rehearsing my comeback when arguing with someone. Being acutely aware of my internal dialogue is not conducive of communion. Of course, none of my readers are plagued with this 🙊. When I do pray, since I live alone now, my prayers fall into three categories: prayers that my children will all love God and His holy Word; that God will give His people grace and strengthen their faith in affliction; that He will heal me (of whatever pain or illness I happen to be enduring right now. My prayer presuppositions are: my children are written in his Book of Life; God’s people will suffer afflictions; affliction is for appreciating grace and strengthening faith; God can and will act to heal anything, if it is in His will; God hears prayers.
“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:7-9.
God hears prayer, but make sure that your mind is right and your conscience is as clear as it can be. The passage from 1 Peter is not only a handy checklist, it is the only Bible passage I am aware of that specifically admonishes husbands to live with their wives with (according to the Amplified Bible) “great gentleness and tact” (“understanding way”), but warns that your prayers will be hindered if you don’t. I still remember a sermon by Tony Evans, which I paraphrase. He said, referring to this passage, “if you are harsh to your wife, and then you pray, your prayers won’t reach God, they will hit the ceiling and bounce back.” That’s my word for today.