Do you like to get gifts? I remember opening birthday presents when I was a kid. This was before gift bags were popular so everybody wrapped their gifts no matter what odd size they were. Before I could even begin to tear the tape from the side of the package, my mom would stop me and make me do something that no kid ever likes to do.
Open the card first.
I could see myself playing with the toy in my mind… but mom wanted me to stop… read the entire card out loud… and thank the generous relative or friend. I’d half-heartedly tear open the envelope, rip out the contents, and begin to read the words printed there. The Hallmark-created words were easy to read and understand… but the others were scribbled below by a relative’s elderly hand or drawn on with crayon by somebody’s little brother.
Now as an adult, I love reading cards. Once in awhile I’ll be cleaning out a drawer and find a few from birthdays and Christmases past. The sentiment is usually the same… wishing me a Merry this or a Happy that. What warms my heart now is what I read below the professional font… Some scribble from my daughter when she was too young to write legibly… A beautiful declaration of love from my wife Stephanie… A happy father’s day message from my boys… I treasure them all. What they write from their hearts means so much more to me than anything that any store bought card could ever say. It is genuine…heartfelt…It may not be perfect grammar or fancy words… or properly punctuated… but it’s real.
And I love them for that.
The other day I was thinking about prayer… and it’s the same way. God isn’t looking for us to have the perfect words to say to Him. He’s not looking for lengthy prose or lofty vocabulary-heavy preaching. God isn’t worried about how long we’ve been praying… or how often we use His name in the communication. God is looking for heart.
Like the words written below what’s printed on a greeting card… God wants genuine conversation. Your words may seem common…you may repeat the same word over and over… or maybe you don’t really know how to put it into words.
Say it anyway. It’s ok. Paul says “Pray without ceasing.” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
God isn’t grading your composition, He’s looking for two things:
1) Is it genuine?
2) Do you have faith in His ability to answer it in His own way and time.
That’s it. Pray with everything you’ve got… in whatever way you can… to God who still does what seems impossible.
I want to challenge you today…
It doesn’t matter how eloquently you pray… what matters is that it you mean it. That it’s real. That you expect big things to happen…
Prayer changes things.
We may pray in crayon sometimes… but God can read it just fine. In fact, I think He likes it that way.