“When you pray, don’t babble on and on.” Mt 6:7 NLT
Here’s what Jesus taught about prayer: “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.” Then He gave us two specific instructions. First: “Shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private” (v. 6 NLT). Second: “Your Father knows exactly what you need…before you ask him” (v. 8 NLT). Heartfelt prayer isn’t meant for human ears. In The Message, Eugene Peterson paraphrases it this way: “Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play.” In heartfelt prayer the Holy Spirit brings to the surface things you’ve carefully hidden from others, and even yourself. Like a mirror, He confronts you with the truth and demands that you confess “the hidden things of dishonesty” (2Co 4:2). Once you’ve done that you can leave God’s presence cleansed, corrected, confident, and clear as to His will. Nothing fuels heartfelt prayer like real need. It causes both the prominent and obscure to acknowledge, “Lord, without you I can do nothing. Indeed anything I could accomplish without you would mean nothing!” This is the place of naked prayer. Hannah was there when she cried to God for a child. She was so passionate that Eli the high priest thought she was drunk (See 1Sa 1:13). But God heard her cry. That day, Samuel was conceived in her heart, and shortly thereafter he was conceived in her womb. So don’t leave the place of prayer until you conceive, until the embryo of God’s purpose for your life starts to take form within you, and your vision is born.