What does a spiritually minded person want? Truth… Stability… Harmony… Joy… Peace… Purity… Patience…Noble thoughts…Consistency? Of course. yet, because we don’t achieve these in our lives, we become anxious. So, we have an imperfect walk with God. Add to that the unforeseen tragedies, temptations, and pressures that hit us, and our worry gauge goes off the scale. What is the biblical answer to anxiety? Pray!
Yes, the cure for anxiety is prayer. Pray. It sounds so simple. Just talk to God. So how did prayer get so complicated? We have a tendency to take the simple things of God and repackage them in rigid religious formulas. Why do we do this? It isn’t because we don’t believe in prayer, because we do. When Jesus walked onto the scene, prayer had become something other than just talking with God. It had become formal and ritualistic. It had become long and verbose. It had become repetitious. And it had become prideful. They were praying to men and not to God.
As you can imagine, if people didn’t conform to the “correct” style, they weren’t considered to be truly devoted to God. Living up to the expectations of others became the primary motivation to pray; and when that goal wasn’t achieved, guilt imprisoned the person.
Jesus came into this system of do’s and don’t’s with His own instructions of prayer. His teaching irritated the religious leaders. He offered freedom from the chains of legalism and taught that prayer was made for God to hear, not for people.
I’ve heard some prayers that sounded like sermons- the person praying wanted to get a message across to the people instead of praying to God. I’ve heard other prayers that sounded like we didn’t think God knew anything, so the person praying decided to tell God what He didn’t know. I’ve heard some prayers that sounded like the person wanted the applause of the people. However, a great reward awaits those whose prayers are motivated by a desire for a divine relationship instead of recognition.