Engage!

Engage!

I spent the first 12 years of my life in a very conservative denomination. I was taught early on that though my Catholic friends referred to themselves as Christians, it did not mean the same thing that I meant when I said Christian.

So when I considered this verse:

And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition, as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. (Matt 6:7 NASB)

I was taught that it was referring to the Rosary.

This made life simple because I never had to deal with the fact that every time I sat down to diner I would say the same simple prayer over my food, because the Bible told me to receive it with thanksgiving.

  • I had to bless the food. (that’s right – make it happy)
  • I had to say grace. (“GRACE”)
  • I had to SAY A PRAYER.

Face it brothers and sisters, it is easy to fill our lives with meaningless repetitions, and never connect with our Father, isn’t it? One of my pet peeves is when people use the phrase "say a prayer." Prayer is meant to be meaningful conversation with our Father.

Has someone close to you ever told you “you always say that.” We do it with each other, and I know you have had it done to you. When someone you know and love takes out the long stick of a familiar rant, and begins to beat the dead horse of your mind with it one more time, you tune them out – don’t you?

So there it is  - Jesus is saying – If you won't take the time or effort to engage your heart and mind and speak to me – I am tuning out the noise of your incessant babbling (aka familiar rant.) [Tweet This]

Hey – thanks for stopping by today.

Ben

[Regarding the title  - yes “Next Generation” was my favorite Trek to date aside from perhaps “The Wrath of Kahn.”]

0 thoughts on “Engage!

  1. Larry Carroll

    Excellent. Very insightful, very appropriate for the culture in which I live (and me!), and short, too. Thank you, Ben.

    Reply
  2. closefamilies

    I struggle with this right now. I was raised "nondenominational" Christian. My husband was raised Catholic. I think that it doesn't matter what church you belong to, but that your relationship with Jesus is what matters. He believes that Catholic church is the only church worth going to. Therefore, we have started attending a Catholic church. The depiction and the responses seem so insincere to me. Is it just going to take some getting used to, or should I stop going with my husband....? It's very confusing.

    Reply
    1. Ben Nelson

      Boy - I understand. I did not mean for this post to be an indictment of Catholicism by any means - i only brought that up to show that I had been able to ignore the clear instuctions of Jesus by pointing at someone else.

      The important thing is your personal connection with the Father. You will need feeding but we need to be able to feed ourselves. Community is critical to the christian life, so i believe in plugging in where we are (my mom used to tell me to bloom where i was planted)

      So - you bloom in the Church where you and your hubby attend, and make sure you get plenty of food for yourself from the hand of the Lord and you will do well!

      thanks much for stopping in

      Ben

      Reply
      1. closefamilies

        Thank you so much! I understand what you mean, and I think that's what I need to keep in mind. After reading this, I also read a passage in my devotional that helped me have a greater understanding and peace with our choice of church... God has a powerful way of showing us what we need to see, when we need to see it. 😉

        Reply
  3. Vicki

    that is interesting, I have never heard that it refers to the rosary. it amazes me the teachings that some people come up with, and worse, are accepted.

    in agreement with your first commenter, very appropriate post.

    Reply
  4. Jeff

    Good words. Sometimes I struggle with saying the same things about certain people every time I pray, but they most definitely are NOT "meaningless" or "vain" repetitions. When I ask God to heal my father every day, I mean it! I just can't think of different ways to ask him. As for meal prayers, I will confess that my family seldom says "grace" before meals. When I was a kid, my parents let me say the prayer before our meals. For a long time, it was "God is great, God is good," and so on.

    Prayer is a tough thing. I'm learning more and more about it, as God has kind of pushed me into a prayer ministry. I believe it's definitely been misunderstood in the Baptist churches that I grew up in. When I figure it out, I'll let everyone know. 🙂 I know this much: The title of your blog today hits it right on. We need to "engage" with God. Prayer is communication with him. I'm reading Charles Stanley's book, The Ultimate Conversation, right now. I like the title, because it pretty much describes what prayer should be.

    Reply
    1. Ben Nelson

      Hey Jeff - thanks for sharing. I would love to figure out how to teach kids to pray without teaching them to "say prayers." I am not looking to give them habits that make them feel like they can check prayer off their list, but rather that prayer is a way of life.

      Thanks for stopping by and joining in.

      Ben

      Reply
  5. Caddo Veil

    I love the "bless the food--make it happy" part, Ben--maybe I've left that out of my cooking exercises! I only resort to repetitious prayer when I'm already asleep as I fall into bed--it's "the list" of folks I'm praying for, and sometimes I have to say, "Lord, You know the rest--meet them at their point of need, and I'll see You in the morning." God bless you, brother--love, sis Caddo

    Reply
    1. Ben Nelson

      That came from my kids - they heard a sermon on the Beatitudes and learned that blessed meant Happy, so when we would bless the food - they would say - make it happy! Ah well.
      Bless you for remembering your list every night. all good. Hope your boys do well tonight!

      Reply
  6. Debbie

    Well, trying not to beat myself up for those times I just "say prayers." Because I have those times. But taking away more and more that desire to engage my heart and mind as I come to Him. Thank you so much, Ben! God bless you . .. and your happy food! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Ben Nelson

      But if you don't beat yourself up, that will ruin my evil plan! (chuckle) - no guilt trips allowed - just trying to help myself, and anyone listening to me talk to myself - do better tomorrow than i did yesterday.
      Thanks for coming back - don't miss Saturday - it rocked my world.
      Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  7. meetingintheclouds

    I used to "say the rosary" so I know what you mean. I shudder when I hear someone talk about "saying a prayer". To my mind, saying a prayer means nothing, but praying is real. Praying is a two-way communication. Praying involves so much more than mere words. Praying acknowledges my inabilities and His dependability.

    If someone wants to 'bless the food' I wonder what is wrong with it, or under what unhygenic conditions it was prepared. I never say grace, but I do give thanks for my food.

    Reply

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