Ugly Prayer

I had the privilege of attending three baptisms this weekend.  During these the people getting baptized testified of their faith in Christ and someone prayed for them.  One thought I had as I listened was the sincerity of those who were baptized and the ugliness of the prayers I heard by congregants on their behalf as they began the next phase of their walk with Christ.

This brought my mind to the following passage:

Luke 18:11-14

“The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  ‘I fast twice a week; pay tithes of all that I get.’   “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’  “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

This reminds me of a simple truth.  God Loves Ugly Prayers.  I don’t know why (other than the above passage), but all of the most impactful prayers I’ve participated in have been of the Ugly Variety.  When we teach teens and reach out in prayer, do we build this assumption in.  While many assumptions and we build up the idea that prayer needs to be eloquent and contrite.  Perhaps even in the way we lead prayer up front and in how we demonstrate the discipline of prayer we bring others to the realization that they need to pray better, as if better was anything other than polishing something ugly, when ugly is what God desires.

Do you practice ugly prayer?

  1. Are you looking to score points in big church when you pray? or are you allowing your heart shine through a polished veneer?
  2. Do you encourage ugly prayer in your small group?  God knows our hearts, and He knows our needs.  Go to him in prayer and stop being concerned about the eloquence and what others think of your prayer?
  3. Spend time this week in ugly prayer, in sincere discussion with your Heavenly Father.  Stop being so caught up in making it perfect, God already knows you aren’t.


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