As I drive to work and school each morning, we listen to Get Up! Mornings with Erica Campbell. For those unfamiliar, this is a radio show starring, singer, Erica Campbell of the gospel group Mary Mary. Each day she gives a scripture-based morning message, plays the latest gospel music, and asks her side-kick, Griff, to pray. When I first started listening to the show, I judged the prayer as sacrilegious. I didn't like the intro to the prayer each day, and I would change the radio station just as it began, so I really never even heard the prayer. I am not sure why, but for the past few months I have been listening to it. One goal of the prayer, I believe, is to provide some comic relief to those frustrated with traffic on the way to work--but it is a real prayer. One of the funniest I recall is when he prayed asking forgiveness for being unable to peel back the cover of his communion lunchable the previous day at church, in time to take communion with the rest of the congregation. I laughed so hard! I knew exactly what he was referring to. I had never called them a “communion lunchable,” but I knew the struggle.
On Friday, Griff prayed about a new video game that was just released and how he was so thankful for it. He asked God to put it on the hearts of the gamer’s wives go out and get this game for their husbands as a show of love. When he finished, he apparently looked at Erica and she didn't appear to be amused. She said, “What? Don't have low self-esteem about your prayer just because it didn’t resonate in my heart. That’s your prayer, not mine!”
The prayer didn't resonate with me, either, but it did resonate with my children, who now want me to buy them the video game. What struck me on Friday, was Erica’s comment afterward. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray without ceasing.” We are all God’s children with different needs, wants, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, and the list goes on. Our heavenly Father is the only One who knows our individual intricacies—the root of our fears, the origin of our doubts. He is the source of our strength. One person’s prayer may not be the prayer on the heart of the masses because there are an infinite number of issues that can plague the heart. From one moment to the next, our primary needs can change. This weekend, the southeastern United States is being plummeted with rain and wind due to Hurricane Florence. I am sure the prayers are many. ‘Lord, I need for Walmart to still have some bottle water when I get there.’ ‘Lord, please give me enough hours in this week’s paycheck that I can buy what my family will need during the storm.’ ‘Lord, only You can divert the storm. We need a miracle right now, in Jesus name!’ 'Lord, please keep this tree outside the window standing upright during the storm. Give it strength, Lord!'
The other thing that resonated with me about Erica’s comment is how we pass judgment. I am so guilty. I wrote in the first paragraph, how I had initially judged Griff’s prayer. I judged it before I ever even heard it. I didn't like the intro to the prayer, so I had judged the prayer as sacrilegious. Many years ago, someone laughed at my prayer, saying that I prayed just like I spoke. It made me nervous about praying aloud. Honestly, I still get a little nervous when I pray aloud for a group. I think I’m supposed to be someone else, but truly, I can only be myself, so my prayer will continue to sound just like I speak.
Luke 6:37 advises, "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." Is it possible that I judged Griff’s prayers because mine had been judged? Is it possible that I continue to feel self-conscious about my prayers aloud because I continue to judge the prayers of others? Hmmm…
Prayer is personal. Of course we pray to bless the family meal, or the meal prepared for the congregation. We pray for the couple uniting in marriage. We offer convocation during graduations and sporting events. One person’s prayer cannot possibly speak for everyone. Even when someone else is praying and we are in agreement, the words they say may cause us to have different thoughts, thoughts of additional prayers on our hearts.
In the words of Erica Campbell, I say to you, my readers, “Don't have low self-esteem about your prayer.” Remember, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14) “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 16-18. AMEN!
Thank you for reading!
Stay safe, dry, and warm!
Don't forget to pray!
Copyright 2018 Kimberly Griffith Anderson
If you like this style of writing, you will enjoy Turn North: A 30-Day Devotional and Journal written by the author of this blog.