Many devotional books teach a Christian nugget of truth, share a couple of scriptures and end with a prayer. These books are certainly beneficial. For instance, they are helpful for the young, growing Christian to have examples of how mature Christians pray and process truths found in the Bible.
But I wonder when we will pray our own words to Jesus. These prayer/devotional books are like training wheels on a child’s bicycle. Training wheels are smaller wheels attached to the bicycle to guide the big wheels, helping the child so she doesn’t fall down. At first, the wheels are firmly on the ground parallel to the child’s big wheels. As the child’s confidence grows, the parent adjusts them so the training wheels are slightly higher than the bike’s wheels. Now the child must learn to balance her bike while she rides. But then comes that grand day when the training wheels come off!
I think people have always wondered how to pray to God. Even the disciples asked Jesus, “teach us how to pray.” So Jesus taught them what is now referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer”. He said, “Pray then like this: Our Father in Heaven hallowed be thy name . . . ” Notice it says, “like this.” This prayer has enormous value to study and to pray on occasion. But it is like training wheels. This prayer is located in a portion of scripture where Jesus and his disciples are conversing about prayer. These are Jesus instructions:
“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.
And when you pray,
do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do,
for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Do not be like them,
for your Father knows what you need
before you ask him.”
Take the Training Wheels Off
Prewritten devotional book prayers are similar to training wheels. I implore you to take the training wheels off your prayers. Jesus wants to hear from you in your own words. The prayers you’ve been reading/praying to Him have probably been good examples of how to pray. But effective spiritual training should cause us to grow into spiritual maturity. Is it time to live a Christian prayer life? I say yes! Grow in it. Pray more and more. “Pray without ceasing.” How can you do this if you only pray using other people’s words and not your own words?
The purpose of prayer is to talk to God while you are doing life. Just like a purpose of a bicycle is to go places. When we are talking to God, our hearts connect to His heart. This is a deep connection. Our hearts should hunger for more and more time to speak with Jesus.
Praying our own prayers shows spiritual growth. Honestly, I still pull out a devotional with prayers and prayers from the Bible, but this makes up a small amount of my prayer life, maybe only 5%. Let’s work on being more faithful to pray in 2022. I look forward to writing more on prayer, much like I wrote on the Praying for Friends series last year.
“Work as if everything depended upon work and
pray as if everything depended upon prayer.”
Written by Kim Griffin
Matthew 6:6-8 Jesus talks about how to pray
Matthew 6:9-15 The Lord’s Prayer
I Thessalonians 15:17 Pray without ceasing
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