Blessed… It’s Not About Us

“When you pray, don’t be like hypocrites. They love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners so that people will see them. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get. But when you pray, go to your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you (Matthew 6:5-6, Common English Bible).

For the past month, prayer has been the subject of worship, study and discussion around my church as we have been working our way through Mark Batterson’s book, The Circle Maker. It is my favorite book on prayer.

Some of Batterson’s discussion has been about prayer posture. He talks about literally praying on our knees. I know for some people, that is difficult, maybe even impossible because of the physical limitations of the body. Still, there is something about humbling ourselves by being on our knees or even prostrate on the floor. The thing is, its about humbling ourselves. If the reason we are kneeling or laying on the floor is so others can see how faithful we are in prayer, we can stop because we need to remember, it isn’t really about us.

As a pastor, I regularly pray in front of other people. I know many lay people who do that as well. Once I heard someone say they didn’t pray in public because of our passage today. I might be wrong, but I really don’t think this is what Jesus means here. This isn’t an instruction against corporate prayer. It is all about prayer that focuses on the one praying rather than focusing on and giving the glory to God. When we do that, we not only miss the boat, we are miles from the water.

Prayer, is not about me. To think otherwise defies logic. If prayer is about me, why do I need to pray. If I am praying about something that is within my power to do, that means I don’t need God and there was really no point in saying a prayer. But, to pray for things I cannot do, moves my prayer past myself. It is not a prayer about me. It at least should give all the glory to God. And, that is where the glory belongs.

It is one thing to pray together. But, we also need prayer time on our own. This is where the importance of going to our prayer closet, to go into a private place where we can focus on God. This kind of alone prayer is important to our personal spiritual development. It is vital to the growth of our souls.

I don’t think this necessarily has to be a room, but instead the place where you feel closest go God. To be effective in prayer means placing ourselves in the place where we do feel close to God. For some that might be a closet. For others it might mean sitting under a tree in the woods or while walking on the beach. The possibilities are endless. The real key is to find the place and then spend time alone with God.

Where is your place to talk to God?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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