Passion Toward God?
I read this quote in a Christian magazine this week:
“Passionate prayers make the greatest difference in our lives. If a prayer doesn’t move me, its not likely to move Him.”
I can’t tell you how much I disagree with this statement. Well, I disagree with the premise behind the statement – that if some human self-ordained “prayer expert” isn’t moved by the passion level of a prayer, God won’t be either.
Now, I’m sure “passionate prayers” DO move our Lord. I would imagine that David was pretty passionate as he cried out to the Lord:
“Then David spoke to the LORD the words of this song, on the day when the LORD had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. And he said: ‘The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; the God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.’” (2 Samuel 22:1-4)
…and we know that the Bible teaches this:
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16b)
…and I would imagine the prayers of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane were VERY passionate.
“Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.’ He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.’” (Matthew 26:38-39)
So, passion in prayer is good and gets the Lord’s attention, but I am equally sure that prayers that can barely be spoken move Him as well.
Close your eyes and imagine with me for a second a parent asleep in the middle of the night. Suddenly this mother wakes up. She hears a quiet voice, barely imperceptible, “Mommy? My tummy hurts…”
Its not a passionate cry nor is it loud. It’s the whimpering of a sick child.
Will that mother be moved? You bet she will! If the child called out to his father, would the father be moved? Yes! A good parent loves his child and responds to his cry.
As the world has more and more saturated the Body of Christ, showmanship has blossomed all through the Church, there have emerged many tragic spinoffs to the light shows, smoke machines, stomping around, and theater on the stages in so many places of worship. The (often) unintended message conveyed is that God responds to the passionate, the dramatic, the orchestrated…worship of His people.
The truth is that God responds to those who love and cry out Him.
Simple as that.
In the past almost 2000 years, how many Christian martyrs have died, their lips barely able to mouth the name of Jesus?
Passion toward our God is great but let’s NEVER fall into the trap of comparing how we do things in our worship of and communication with God with others who seem to perform better at those things - according to the world’s standards.
Let’s never believe that God will overlook our prayers if we aren’t as passionate in our prayers as is someone else.
God is NOT like people in that He doesn’t show favorites.
“…there is no partiality with God.” (Romans 2:11 – NKJV)
…or, as the Complete Jewish Bible renders this truth:
“…God does not show favoritism.” (Romans 2:11 – CJB)
Do you worship God with your hands in your pockets and head bowed reverently? Do you pray quietly with your hands clasped and sitting or kneeling? GREAT!
Do you worship God with hands held high, dancing around, waving flags with overt joy and enthusiasm? Do you pray passionately, doing obvious war in prayer? GREAT!
Do you practice both styles from time to time, never plotting out your approach to God but enjoying the spontaneity of heartfelt worship and prayer? GREAT!
As a parent, I’m just happy when my kids (natural or spiritual) and grandkids care enough about me to pay attention to me. I wonder sometimes if God enjoys our worship simply because He knows its good for us to FOCUS on Him…whatever our style so long as it is respectful.
As a parent, I appreciate when those with whom I am connected turn to me for advice, comfort, peace, strength. It matters to me that my effect on them matters to them. I sometimes wonder if God just likes hearing from His children because He knows its good for THEM to do that.
What I know for sure is that the level of earthly passion I expend does NOTHING to move God in any moment because He is ETERNAL.
He loves us and is ALWAYS MOVED regarding us. He doesn’t operate on an earthly timeline, His responses dictated by how we provoke Him with our “passion”.
Let’s never forget that He is NOT like us. He is transforming us as Christians to BECOME like Him. Let’s stop slandering Him by acting as if He is like people.
As we close this piece, let’s consider what Jesus tells us about His Father, just before giving us what some call The Lord’s Prayer:
“your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:8b)
I’m pretty sure He isn’t sitting around somewhere hoping I give Him a hint as to just how passionate I feel about anything before He moves to meet my needs.
I pray that we are real with our Father in heaven and that we turn to Him in times of need as well as in times of plenty…when things are desperate and when all is well…when we are quiet and when we are filled with passion.
The Lord be with you.
Pastor Mike McInerney
Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.
© December 20, 2020
(for use with permission)