The Tabernacle Scroll
"All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been trained by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water."- (James 3:7-12, emphasis mine).
I recall reading an interesting analogy of what James is telling us in this passage. A family was seated around the dinner table and the father, as was customary, asked God's blessing on the food. His prayers were pious and his language scholarly as he thanked the Lord for his bounteous provisions. But as they started to eat he grumbled about the poor quality of the food and the way in which it was cooked.
His ten-year old daughter interrupted him. "Dad, do you think God heard your prayer when you asked him to bless the food?"
"Of course" he replied with confidence.
"And did He also hear you when you complained about it just now?"
"I'm sure He did," he yelled back, angry at his daughter's insolence. Quite innocently, the little girl continued: "Then which one of your statements did God believe?" He was dumbfounded! But his flushed cheeks made it obvious that her discerning question had made its point!
God's word has a habit of making a point. The Bible is actually like a mirror, enabling us to see ourselves as we really are (spiritually, that is!). James tells us "Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does." (James 1:23-25).
Are our prayers nothing more than empty rhetoric? Are they words that come from the top of our heads, not the bottom of our hearts? Are our public prayers long and pompous and eloquent whilst our private prayers are short, lacking in self-examination and repentance? You and I need to be aware of inconsistent prayer!
Let's not be a people who superficially thank God, but deep down in our hearts are really dissatisfied with our blessings. Effectual prayer is that which is lived out!
www.kerysso.org-Preach The Word with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues