Inconsistent Prayer

Written by Tom Smith.

“Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” (NIV) James 3:10

One morning at the breakfast table a father asked God's blessing on the food as usual. In pious and exalted language he thanked the Lord for all His bountiful provisions. But when he started eating, he grumbled about the poor quality of the food and complained about the way it was cooked. His teenager interrupted him.

"Dad," she began, "do you think God heard your prayer?" "Certainly," he replied confidently. "And did He also hear when you complained about the bacon and coffee just now?" she asked. "Why, of course!" he bellowed. "Then which of your statements did God believe?" The flush on his cheeks made it obvious that her discerning question had hit home. Too often our prayers are nothing more than empty rhetoric. We mouth beautiful words, but they seem to come from the top of our heads, not the bottom of our hearts. Many of our public prayers are pompous and wordy, and our private prayers are anemic and trite. We forget that what we say to God must be consistent with how we live.

Let's shun the hypocrisy of superficially thanking God while deep in our hearts we are dissatisfied with our blessings. Beware of inconsistent prayer. It's not enough to say a prayer, we have to live it too.

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