Talking to God#2. “Except the words that matter.”

Talking to God#2. “Except the words that matter.”

A young preacher was asked by his youth class: “How can you pray without ceasing?” His answer was as profound as it was personal. He said, “One night our baby became so still and unresponsive that we feared for her life. We were so afraid that we just got into the car and headed for the hospital. I was so terrified that our baby was going to die, that all the way to the hospital I prayed, over and over again, ‘God, please don’t let our baby die! God, please don’t let our baby die…!’ And praise God, he heard my prayer.”

It is when needs move beyond human limits that divine intervention is sought most; prayer becomes the only hope. At such times there is no room for platitudes, and no time to find new ways to impress God. Prayer is stripped down to nothing except the words that matter.

The “vain repetitions” in prayer that Jesus preached against were the efforts of religious leaders to impress others of their piety (Mt.6:7). Jesus, to his own peril, loudly condemned their meaningless repetitions as the babblings of minds set far beyond the supposed object of worship. They were oblivious to the fact that God was deaf to rote prayers. Whether it was their false teachings or their fake prayers, it all added up to the same thing: “Their hearts were far from God” (Mt.15:8-9).

Jesus’ parable of the Widow and the Unjust Judge (Lk.18) is a call to ceaseless, focused prayer. The widow in Jesus’ story was relentless in her quest for justice because it was vital to her survival. We pray to a Just Judge in an unjust world, who will eventually bring everything to a just end. In the meantime, however, we must be vigilant to petition the One who will bring that justice.

We use no other words—except the words that matter!

John Staiger


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