I’m counting down my most popular devotions of the year. This was my third most popular one written in 2017.
I was in need of prayer recently, and a friend came to visit me. We talked about everything going on and caught up on a few things. Before he left, he asked, “Do you mind if I pray for you before I leave?” I nodded. He then said, “My prayers aren’t that eloquent though.” I replied, “God listens more to our heart than our words.” After we prayed and he left, I began to think about that. How many of us hold back on prayers because we think it’s the eloquence of our prayers that cause God to reply?
God is not like us. He is not impressed by our mastery of language. He isn’t moved by flowery speech. He looks into our heart and sees our intent. We’ve grown so accustomed to having please and impress others with our words that we think we have to do it with God. Religiosity is the art of impressing others while making a show of our faith. God doesn’t respond to that because He doesn’t like it.
In Matthew 6:7-8, Jesus said, “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” (NLT) God knew I was in need of prayer. He didn’t need an eloquent prayer that explained what was going on and what I needed. What He needed was our faith to trust Him with the problem.
Prayer is not about saying the right words the right way. It’s about trusting God with the things we can’t handle. My son often wants things (and he hints at it), but I always say, “Use your words.” I think our Father in Heaven does the same. He knows we need it, but He’s teaching us to communicate with Him through prayer. Your communication skills don’t have to be excellent either. Your heart is what matters. Initiate the conversation with Him and open up your heart. Those are the most eloquent prayers He ever heard.