May 2024 Devotional: Taming the Tongue in Prayer

By Captain Charlene Morrow
Monterey Peninsula, CA Corps – Golden State Division

Have you ever heard the phrase “Pics or it didn’t happen?” This term originated in the early 2000’s in chat rooms. The phrase means “show us photographic evidence of your adventures or we are forced to assume you are lying about the whole thing!” Now that social media has turned into so much more than chat rooms, it is a standard marketing tool for companies, celebrities, and the average Joe. Most of those using social media platforms post the “pic” without even being prompted. So many users cannot just say they are having an amazing adventure, they feel as though they must prove it as well.

How does this concept relate to our prayer lives? Matthew 6:5-8 says:

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

When Jesus is preaching the sermon on the mount in Matthew chapter 6, one of the topics he addresses is prayer. Some of the key components of how to pray and how not to pray are: DO NOT pray like the hypocrites, who love to pray standing so they can be seen by others. DO, go into the room, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. DO NOT keep babbling like the pagans, for they think they will be heard for their many words. YOUR Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Questions we can ask ourselves and reflect upon our prayer life:

  • How do you pray? Is it a quiet time of petition?
  • Do you offer praises to our God of thanksgiving?
  • Are you keeping others around you in your prayers, or are your prayers to the Lord mostly requesting intervention for your own benefit?
  • Do you pray alone or with others?
  • Do you offer your petitions out loud in the Bible study group or Sunday school class?
  • What is the motive behind the prayer? Are you “babbling” to be seen and heard?

God already knows our prayers and the desires and woes of our hearts. It is okay that we should want to share our victories and struggles with our fellow believers. That encourages the godly fellowship we should have in our church community. However, we should be careful we are not falling into a “photographic evidence required” lifestyle. We do not need to carry on, to each other or to God, to “prove” that our prayer is valuable enough, real enough, or of the highest priority. God knows! Our Father sees what is done in secret. The challenge we have is to tame the tongue in our prayer lives! Let us not get too carried away with the babbling on to God or the sharing of prayer requests with each other, that we forget who the prayer is intended for!

1 John 5:14-15 says:

 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.