I am currently reading The Cross and Christian Ministry by D.A. Carson. It is a fantastic read. At the end of the first chapter, Carson addresses how we pray, or rather, how we should treat prayer:
We have become so performance-oriented that it is hard to see how compromised we are. Consider one small example. In many of our churches, prayers in morning services now function, in large measure, as the time to change the set in the sanctuary. The people of the congregation bow their heads and close their eyes, and when they look up a minute later, why, all the singers are in place, or the drama group is ready to perform. It is all so smooth. It is also profane. Nominally we are in prayer together addressing the King of heaven, the sovereign Lord. In reality, some of us are doing that while others are rushing on tiptoes around the “stage” and others with their eyes closed, are busy wondering what new and happy configuration will confront them when it is time to take a peek.
Has the smoothness of the performance become more important to us then the fear of the Lord? Has polish… displaced substance? Have professional competence and smooth showmanship become more valuable than sober reckoning over what it means to focus on Christ crucified?
What is the focus of your prayer? Are you, like Jesus, daily concerned with God’s holiness? Do you see God as holy and your self as sinful? If we understood all of this along with the Cross of Christ and how it is supposed to be our motivation for all of life, we would be more reverent in regards to prayer.
This goes for all of us
It is really easy to feel like you are above all of this and don’t need to know the importance that is to be given to prayer. But to me it is just like the Gospel. We have to be told over and over again what the Gospel message is, so it only makes sense that we hear this word about prayer as often as possible as well. When you are praying at Church (or anywhere really) don’t let Satan trick you into thinking that it is boring or dumb. Be enthralled with the fact that we get this amazing opportunity to commune with the Father daily.
So rejoice in praise, mourn with others, hold God and his word in the highest regard, and never lose site of the Cross, it is the way by which we may commune with such a holy God.
Maybe you serve within your Church. Maybe you just attend faithfully. Maybe you’re a pastor, a worship leader, whatever. What ever your role is within the Church, ask yourself, “What is the point of prayer? Am I more focused on a smooth service than I am a healthy Church? What is Christ trying to communicate to us while we are busy focusing on the trivial matters of life?”