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Shield Daily Devotional  

Day 139

Today we are going to shift focus and examine your prayer life. Most Christians know they are supposed to pray but find it difficult to be consistent. There are two ditches that are on both sides of the road to avoid falling into. On one side is the ditch called "formality;" and on the other side is one called "extemporaneous." We will examine formality today.

In Matthew 6:7, Jesus said: "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." The Barnes NT Commentary explains this verse as follows: "The original word here is supposed to be derived from the name of a Greek poet, who made long and weary verses, declaring, by many forms and endless repetitions, the same sentiment. Hence it means to repeat a thing often, to say the same thing in different words, or to repeat the same words, as though God did not hear at first." There are some religious groups in the Name of Jesus Christ that just repeat form prayers. They say the same thing day in and day out without any attachment to their words. Their sense of duty may be sincere but they have no real life in their communication to God.

In what is commonly called the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), Jesus talk His disciples to pray. The opening words are "Our Father." As you address God as your Father you should seek to speak from your heart and not by repetition. If one of my children came and spoke a form of words to me consistently I know that my heart would desire that they speak their own words not those belonging to someone else. Now do not misunderstand me, there are wonderful form prayers that can be used in prayer but not all the time. The speaking of form prayers can lead to formality and boring praying. When something is boring, it usually becomes an activity that is neglected. God wants communication with you not just daily but continually throughout the day. Speak to Him today the way you would speak to a loving authority figure; with love, reverence and from your heart.
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