Plastic Prayers Make Plastic Churchgoers (Aug 4)

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

August 4

Plastic Prayers Make Plastic Churchgoers

Today’s Scripture Readings:  Psalm 83:1-8 | 2 Chronicles 35:1 – 36:23 | 1 Corinthians 1:1-17 | Proverbs 20:20-21

Today’s Scripture Focus: Psalm 83

“God, don’t shut me out; don’t give me the silent treatment, O God. Your enemies are out there whooping it up, the God-haters are living it up; They’re plotting to do your people in, conspiring to rob you of your precious ones.” (Psalm 83:1-2 The Message)

Ron Mortoia, in his book Morph! tells of a conversation on the golf course with an unchurched man.  The man’s observation:

“People who go to church just aren’t real. I don’t think they’re trying to be deceptive, they just seem fake and act like their lives are better than I know they really are.”   

Ron comments: “The charge against the church used to be that it was ‘full of hypocrites’. The charge today is subtler but no less indicting. Now we’re just called ‘plastic and fake’” (Morph!, 64-65).

I think the man on the golf course made a valid point. Much of what passes for Christianity today does seem “plastic and fake.” But the Bible is not. The pages are filled with very real, human characters. It’s painfully honest about their struggles and failures (and the successes, of course).

The Psalms are like that too.  Painfully honest, the psalmist pours out his heart to God. He doesn’t hold anything back.  He doesn’t put on any masks; he doesn’t pretend. He just tells God what is on his heart and hopes that God will help him sort through his questions, his pain and his problems.

What about your prayers? Are they as honest and authentic? Or are they plastic and fake? A lot of prayers are—especially public prayers. God knows what is in your heart—and he delights in the man or woman who will put down their mask to pour out their heart to him.

My suspicion is that plastic prayers make plastic churchgoers and that authentic, honest prayers make men and women “after God’s own heart.” My chief witness: David.

Open up your heart to God, just like David did. Get it all “out on the table,” then allow God to deal with the questions, the fears, the pain, the problems, the doubts. He patiently waits on us to clean out the closets of our heart. He delights in meeting with us when we do. Honesty is the road to transformation. We trade in our plastic religiosity to become authentic Christ followers.

Father, I once again open my heart to you. I share my hurts, my pains, my concerns, my wounds, my fears, my doubts, my dreams, my hopes. Thank you for listening, for caring, for acting. Amen.

About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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