How To Hate Prayer - Part 1

First off let me say what you want me to hear... You don't hate prayer per se, but you're reading this for a friend. I get it... I only wish I had more friends like you.

Chances are your friend spends his/her time in prayer nodding off while praying for his/her favorite sports team. Maybe they have interactions like "God, while I can appreciate the dramatic literary value of Ehud stabbing that one guy, and the whole knife disappearing into his bowels, I'm having a hard time applying it to my life..."

Here's some reverse psychology to help your friend:

1. Have Incorrect Thoughts About God

Every dialogue we have with someone is colored by our perception of them. Case in point: you're mother-in-law is always harping on your career choices, so everytime you have some sort of life announcement in this department, you brace yourself for the conversation. Why? Because it's difficult to have healthy dialogue with someone, when we've made negative assumptions about their character.

Bad theology will always taint our interactions with God, and always leave us cringing when we think of prayer.

Primarily this happens through 3 lies:

  • Mad God - You view God as sitting up there in his Golden Lawn Chair with a hammer waiting to "wack us" whenever we do wrong. This not so thinly veiled lie comes mainly from partial narratives in the scripture, and maybe a bitter Sunday School teacher in Kindergarten - speaking for a friend here.

 This view of God will prevent you from "Boldly approaching the throne of grace" ten times out     of ten.

Here's the truth of Scripture:

"As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you." -Isaiah 62:5

  • Sad God - God is up there so "grieved" by us, our condition and our sin. Weeping over the brokenness of humanity like some sort of celestial Eeyore. Maybe you don't think of this one often - but it's there - I don't even know how it got there, but it's there.

Here's the truth of scripture:

"The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing." -Zephaniah 3:17

  • Distant God - So you beleive that God exists and maybe even "loves" you. At least in the "he has to love everybody, he's God" sort of way. But fundamentally you view him as distant from your world, your day to day. He's up there, I'm down here. It's just as hard to talk to distant God, as it is to talk to a distant second cousin - so... how's the weather up there in Maine... ~long pause ~ Good, good... so what do you do again? I'm a nurse.......... Big gulps huh? Welp see ya later..."

Here's the truth of God's word:

1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue, you, Lord, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. -Psalms 139:1-6

What if we let our thoughts, theology, and worldview be obliterated by the wrecking ball of scripture? The Word of God is creative, but Paul says it's destructive! A weapon that sets out to destroy every thought that sets itself up against the truth (2 Cor. 10:5).  If allowed to renew your mind, you'll be left with a blank canvas for Christ to color in places of devotion. There's a certain kind of wonder as you present to God your new-found emptiness for him. Remember, he never leaves us as he finds us - through meditation, prayer, and long treks through the narrative of his word, you'll discover a new portrait of Christ, a divine vignette brushed with grace, truth, and beauty.

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