Praying To The God You Don’t Know

I was listening to a song the other day, and a particular line jumped out at me:

“I was praying to a God that I didn’t know…”

Jamie Kimmett, Since I Met You

And it got me thinking. Quite possibly the most recited prayer in Christendom, the Lord’s prayer has been quoted, memorized, studied and recited in a word-for-word fashion by almost every Christian on the planet. While I realize that the intention is often a good one, there is also a hidden danger.

The idea of praying Scripture is not a new one. I love to take God’s Word and store it in my heart, often confessing it to be true and good and right. Claiming God’s promises, I know that my words are not a “stamp of approval” or a “get out of jail free” card– rather, repeating what the Bible is teaching me is a way of confirming, or giving an “amen” to it’s truth.

Repeating the words we find in Scripture is not wrong. It is not a bad idea to take passages from the Bible and turn them into a personal prayer.

As an example, this is a prayer from Ephesians 3 that I have often used as I am praying for others:

“For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.Ephesians 3:14-21

When I am praying these words, I insert their name (“I pray that He may grant you, [name], according…”) and apply it to the specific person I am praying for.

Sometimes it is a Psalm or a Proverb that inspires me to pray words of praise or that will remind me of exactly who God is.

Psalm 24 is a great example:

Psalm 24

The earth and everything in it,
the world and its inhabitants,
belong to the Lord;
for he laid its foundation on the seas
and established it on the rivers.

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who has not appealed to what is false,
and who has not sworn deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the Lord,
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who inquire of him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah

Lift up your heads, you gates!
Rise up, ancient doors!
Then the King of glory will come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates!
Rise up, ancient doors!
Then the King of glory will come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord of Armies,
he is the King of glory. Selah

So why am I saying that there is a danger in doing just what I’ve confessed that I do?

Because the truth is, there are many who would take these words and repeat them as though they are a lucky charm. They might know the words, but don’t really consider what they are saying, let alone say them with sincerity. The Bible says it this way,

“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Matthew 15:8

You may actually believe that “there is a god out there”, but surrendering to the idea is not enough. You must surrender to the truth that the Bible teaches: There is only one God. There is only one way to reach Him and it is through Jesus.

“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

Prayer is simply communicating with God. How is it then, that we can come into the presence of a Holy God, when we are sinful? From the Old Testament to the New, God reveals His holiness and our need for Him. But sin entered in to the world He created when He gave us the choice to obey and

we didn’t.

So how can we expect to gain an audience with this King of Glory? Read Psalm 24 again. It tells us the answer:

  • Clean hands and a pure heart (v. 4): Confession and repentance. Not just saying you’re sorry, but seeing sin for what it is and turning from it.
  • Knowledge of the truth (v. 4): Accepting God’s forgiveness and believing His Word as Truth–that His plan for mankind was redemption through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
  • Hunger for time in His presence (v. 6): The more we know about Him, the more we want to know Him. Seeking God is a moment-by-moment pursuit of His plans, His purpose and His ways. Not just to have more knowledge, but so we will know how to follow Him in obedience.

Does God answer the prayer of one who isn’t a believer? Yes, if they are praying in repentance, asking for the forgiveness of sin, and surrendering to a life of faith in Him. If all they are doing is looking for a quick fix or a Santa Claus that will give them what they want, then they might as well be sending their prayers to the North Pole.

The real question for me is, “Does God hear our prayers?”. You won’t be suprised that I believe that He does. He is all-knowing, and while it is true that we can pray in a flippant way, I also believe that sometimes we can come into His presence with no words… and He knows our heart. If it is true that God created you and knew you before you were even born, then it is also true that He can know your heart and your mind. It is the prayer of FAITH that opens the door to GOD’S HEART.

Yellow Door, Jerusalem, Israel

If you’d like to know more about how you can know God, please don’t delay! Open your Bible to the book of John or go to my FAITH page where I explain how you can start a relationship with God. (HERE: FAITH)

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