WITHOUT A SINCERE HEART
THERE IS NO PRAYER
The only tools I have with which to transmit to you the great truths of God are words. Words are very dangerous tools. With them wars have been started, marriages destroyed and many other bad things have happened. The misuse of words is the cause of much of the misery in human society. For this reason, I urge all Bible students to spend much time thinking about the words they read and making quite sure they know what the writer is trying to convey in the context in which the words are used.
This concept is especially important when we are using words to offer a prayer to the King of the Universe, Our Heavenly Father. To cavalierly say words without both knowing what we are saying and having it accompanied by a sincere heart, is an insult to the throne of Grace and condemns the one who does so. Paul says that to partake of the Lord’s Supper unworthily, i.e., without thought and meaning, was to bring down damnation upon oneself. This is true to any prayer that is thoughtlessly offered to God who knows the thoughts and intents of your heart.
The next phrase we are going to study in this model prayer which Jesus gave to His disciples is one which is too often mouthed with either no thought or with a completely wrong concept, which actually insults the majesty and justice of the God of Heaven. Jesus says, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”. If in saying these words you are asking God not to tempt us to do evil you are
suggesting that He might do something that Our Father would never do. In the book of James we are assured that God cannot be tempted and that He does not tempt any man. God is not wilting that any should perish and He would certainly never try to entice one to do evil and therefore lose his chance for heaven.
In this prayer, Jesus realizes the power of human weakness and that the physical man is surrounded by enticements to sin on every hand. His prayer to God is that God will make His presence so evident and His love so strong that we will be led away from the path our human nature would take and be led another way, not the path into temptation. The Devil is a roaring lion seeking whom he may destroy and Jesus’ prayer is for God to overcome him and deliver us from his evil hand.
The problem here is that most people simply say the words and assume the obvious meaning of the words instead of realizing that the meaning in the mind of Jesus when he uses these words is something quite different from the meaning one would place on the words themselves if he gave them no thought and failed to realize who was saying the words and what HIS meaning would be. Meaning is never in the word but always in the mind of the one using the word.
Prayer which is a mouthing of words without thought is a source of condemnation for one who dares to approach the throne of grace without humility, worship and a sincere heart. I remember visiting a church in Europe years ago and they had prayer books which they would tell you what page to turn to and what to read when time came for prayer. What a travesty to call that prayer or worship. If there is no sincere heart there is not only no prayer but condemnation for the one who dares to enter the throne room of heaven in such a way.