On Prayer and Ritual

The Prayer of Jabez became a popular movement about 10-15 years ago with its four part request from God. This caused a lot of people all over the country to memorize the prayer without so much as a ripple in the overall economy of the church or the country or anything else for that matter. People were given the wrong impression that just because they would prayer these specific words over and over again, that God would pour out riches and blessing upon them.

What they probably didn’t realize was that perhaps the reason for this man’s abundant blessings didn’t come so much from his prayer, but from the fact that, according the verse preceding, “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers” (1 Chronicles 4: 9).

I couldn’t begin to tell you how much I tried to recreate some blessing in my own life instead of receiving what I had gotten with humility and thankfulness. No, whenever the Lord would bless me with a green light as I was traveling through town so that I didn’t have to slow down or come to a stop in traffic (perish the thought), I would try to recreate in my mind and thoughts and words the exact conditions that led to that light turning green at precisely the perfect time to allow me to sail on through the intersection. Never mind the thought about going the speed limit within town so that I would catch the timing of the lights, or just the idea that sometimes things like this happen; I was convinced that God had personally inconvenienced everyone else on the road so that I could get through that one light when I did. In my selfishness and conceit, I wanted that to happen all the time.

Well, for me it was traffic lights as a teenager; for others it is something else. Perhaps you can remember trying to manipulate God to whatever ends you had on your heart when you were younger. The fact of the matter is, God will not be ordered about by a ritual. He will not be commanded by a proper string of words, or pious sounding prayers.

What does move Him is the content and purity of our hearts. When we begin to think like God (pertaining to putting others first) and acting like God (lending a helping hand to whomever may be in need of it without putting on a great show) we begin to become truly Godlike in our own lives. The Father sees this, and sees that we are not being self serving, and will bless us accordingly. And this, I truly believe, is the third foundational key to Enoch’s walk, the other two being reading the bible and prayer.

Think about this. It is worth considering.

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