Tag: authentic

Prayer Mentoring: Speak Normal

Jesus said you are on Earth and your Father is in heaven, so let your words be few. Too often we measure a successful prayer life on length of time and not quality of what is said. Don’t be super spiritual when you pray. Be simple, real and authentic. Sometimes this will cause short prayers, other times your prayers will last a long time. Here are some tips on speaking normal.

Drop the King James talk
First, most people don’t understand the grammatical rules of the King James english to being with. While similar to our English, it’s not the same. If you don’t talk to your friend or spouse that way, there is no passage in Scripture that says we need a special language for prayer. God communicated his words in plain understandable language of the day.

Lordly Lordly prayers
It’s ok to use pronouns. Here is what I mean, talk to your friend or spouse and use their full name and titles before and after each sentence. If that seems really strange do you, you’re not alone. I often see people get uncomfortable or even think they don’t know how to pray because they don’t say all of God’s names in just about every sentence. Address God, and then use pronouns. Again, talk as you would to any friend.

Prayer is a conversation. Prayer is not repeating a mantra. There are times we may repeat a phrase like the Psalmist did. ‘His love endures for ever.’ Again, this is something often over done. Is it ok to ask God about one thing in multiple prayers? YES! There’s even a word for that- it’s called petition, and Jesus encourages it.

Clarity of speech, humility of heart
The goal of praying should be clarity of what you say and humility of your heart. Often verbose prayers are about outward appearances and not a heartfelt talks with a living God. Speak plainly. If you don’t know how or what to say, talk through it as you would any friend. Prayer isn’t impressing God, it’s living life deeply with God.

The bottom line:
Talk to God like you would a friend. Prayer is not a religious game. Prayer is a conversation between you and a living God.

Prayer Mentoring: Attitude

Attitude counts. Like in any relationship, bad attitudes create bad results. When we pray, we need to make sure we have a proper attitude towards God.

Matthew 6:5-15 describes the Lord’s Prayer. Before and after the prayer Jesus addresses our attitude. Prayer isn’t a check list thing, or showmanship. Prayer is a genuine conversation with a real God. Be real and be genuinely concerned for others.

James 1:5-8 describes the need for faith. Let’s face it, Jame’s words are hard to take. If we doubt then we’re unstable. Prayer is an act of faith where we realize and submit to God being in control. This is one of the hardest aspects of our relationship with God- waiting on and trusting in Him.

1 John 3:22 describes the relationship between obedience and God acting. Again, like any relationship, if you violate the relationship things get awkward and out of sorts. A heart that seeks to live out God’s Word is key to God answering prayer. (Note verses 20! God is bigger than our mistakes!)

1 Peter 5:6-7 describes what is essential to any relationship and especially to God. Humility goes a long way in relationships. Key to this verse is submitting to God, recognizing He is in control. Note that these verses are not a legalistic pacify God thing. God’s heart is to exalt and to care for His own.

The bottom line:
Our attitude matters when we talk to God. If you sense your prayers are not heard or being ignored, check your attitude. Don’t focus on false piety- be real. God wants to hear from you and He wants to answer prayer.

Simple. Community. Authentic. Fad or rediscovery?

I think we over-programmed ourselves. People often do not know how to ‘just be.’ We fight it. Busyness is the vaccine against relational intimacy. We are very busy people, creating very shallow relationships. I wonder if the Simple. Community. Authentic. trend is a discovery of something lost, not something new?

In simple we over program. There are many Christians that are so busy doing good things that their faith is extremely shallow. In zealousness we forget that life is more than just activity. Some churches program their way out of the missions context God placed them in. We are the analogy of a chick-flic where the girl gets the guy and then…role the credits. (Ever wonder what happens next?)

Willow Creek discovered this. They were doing many incredible things, but they were not making disciples as they should. The leadership realized they needed a radical re-working of how they do things to focus on producing disciples. The book Simple Church deals with the same issue among many (most?) churches.

We need commonality for community to exist. The phrase “online community” is used all the time. Let us be honest with each other: we lost what community really means. Social media strikes a chord because as humans we really do crave community. Community is diverse. I disagree with the sentiment that states people are into social media because they want fame. Honestly, that is too complex. People want identity.

If churches traded simplicity for programs, it traded community for commercialism & commodity. The danger of being over programmed is we start treating issues and people as a commodity, as customers and not as they are: People in the image of God. God is infinite, which means if the church is to glorify God (show or demonstrate accurately who He is) it takes diversity. Relationships are organic not synthetic. Ministry is farm work, not lab work; a muddy or dusty field not an assembly line.

We know we have opinions and we know we are not perfect. I find it hilarious how academic writing requires 3rd person (as if that magically more objective) or how we can make things a production instead of just being together and worshiping. A business workshop aptly stated: If you say you’re authentic, you better be, because everyone says it. I often heard from people that: if you have to state something, you’re likely not. If something is true, it will show itself true. Here is the key question: Why do we feel we need to say we are authentic?

My English prof described a hard conversation with her parents. She wanted to know if her parents were saved. Her mom was upset. “Couldn’t you tell by how I lived?” There are eras where how we lived that was the true judge, not what we said. “We need both,” Mrs. Williams stated. “I feel as though we lost the art of our living communicating what we believe.”

The Bottom Line:
Simple. Community. Authentic. Maybe we should take off the mask and call them for what they are: three areas where we need to repent. I hope we pursue them less as fad and more as a call to get back to what God wants us to be. I can’t help but notice what is core to each of these three things: People. Love God…Love People…Simple. Community. Authentic.