When Prayer Loses Its Power

There are two kinds of prayer.

Prayers that flow like waters from the soul.

Prayers that are but memorized vapors of past prayers.

It’s possible to pray things you have always prayed, while not feeling it like you did when you first prayed it.

Jewish children of devout parents are trained to memorize specific phrases and scriptures.  Then, day by day, week by week, and year by year, things of great importance are drilled into the young mind for the hope that the words will penetrate deep into the heart and define future decisions and devotion.

However, if the Words never gain purchase or lose meaning in the heart, the truth can be spoken from habitual memory and not be an outflow of the intent, heart, or mind.

This fact can be true for you and me.

Prayer, the way we pray, and the things we say can simply become a collection of noises we make that may in no way reflect the sentiment of our hearts at the moment.

There is no doubt a level of comfort we gain from growing our library of prayer phrases.   This is a product of living a life that prays.    Over time, speaking from experience, one could pray for an extended period and not say many new things.

There is nothing innately wrong with this; however, there is a danger that we are simply playing a recording of past understanding, revelation, and surrender that may flow effortlessly from the mouth but not indeed come from the heart.

“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:”  Isaiah 29:13

The Bible is chock full of examples of people who did the right thing and a wrong thing concurrently.   The right does not fix the wrong; sadly the wrong invalidates the right.

You can take perfectly clean water and mix it with water from the ditch.   However, the clean water does not cleanse the ditch water.

This morning, I pray that be sure that words, my words of prayers, are still connected to the well of sincerity they originally sprang.

I pray that the scriptures I have memorized and prayed in my prayers for decades, that I will again reconnect them tightly to those things that made them so dear to me when I first set out to add them to my library of prayer.

“..for a pretence make long prayers:”  Mark 12:40

Prayer is our greatest privledge.

However, it is easy for us to do what we do and yet become disconnected from us.

I notice, some people’s primary form of communication is to question the motives and intents of other people.    However, I have found that an overt level of angst toward other people is often a reflection of their discomfort.  It is easier to point out others’ violation of our sense of decency than to repent of our personal need for humble contrition and personal responsibility to be an encourager than just another accuser.  

There are two spirits in the world.   The first one is that which advocates for fellow believers.     The other spirit is that spirit that accuses and criticizes.

When in reality, maybe the spirit would impress on them the old song, 

“it’s not my brother, it’s not my sister, but it’s me, oh Lord standing in need of prayer.”

The Bible seems to show us that millions of Jews did many of the things God required while doing things God forbade.   

This spiritual dissonance is why they were carried away from the land of promise and scattered through the world.

Our prayer, our words must not become disconnected from our actions and attitudes.

““It is not everyone who keeps saying to me ‘Lord, Lord’ who will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the man who actually does my Heavenly Father’s will.”   Matthew 7:21

My prayer this morning, and I have prayed it thousands of time throughout my life, I pray it again from my heart, 

“14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”   Psalmst 19:14