HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
I once knew an extremely dedicated and zealous servant of God who often said: “Brethren, one of the reasons we in our modern society do not receive more answers to prayer is that we do not put our hearts into our prayers!” One of the key Scriptures he would then cite was Hosea 7:14, which describes one reason that God did not hear the prayers of the ancient Israelites. The Moffatt translation perhaps renders this verse the most clearly: “They never put their heart into their prayers.”
What about us? Do you and I pray with our entire being? Or do we just rattle off a memorized prayer like some pagan chant, canticle or perhaps sleepily mumble a few half-hearted requests to God just before drifting off to sleep?
Again, remember Jesus’ example of getting up early to pray to the Father! For prayer was vitally important to Christ. That is why He apparently put it first on His schedule—before anything else could interfere. And He probably came back to God repeatedly as the day progressed. The book of Hebrews tells us about Christ’s passionate, heartfelt prayers: “Who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death… was heard because of His godly fear” (Hebrews 5:7).
It is good to go to a “private place” to pray as Jesus instructed in Matthew 6. Alone, we can occasionally cry out to our Creator to help us, to chasten us, to deliver us from temptations or difficulties where only the help of God Himself can fully take care of the situation. The last night of Jesus’ human life, when He knew He was about to be arrested and crucified, He poured out His being to the Father in fervent prayer for help and deliverance: ‘And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).
Jesus was crying out to His Father in such an intense and passionate manner that some of His capillaries may have literally burst—filling certain sweat ducts with blood! In our modern, secular, hedonistic, “laid-back” society, we need to grasp that the truly vital issues of life are not material! Rather, they are spiritual—having to do with our Creator and with all eternity. They are certainly worthy of getting excited about!
So let us put our hearts into our prayers. Let us be fervent. Let us be passionate as we pour out our hearts to the awesome Personality who wants to be our real Father: “the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity” (Isaiah 57:15).