Unnecessary Double Dating
Many in society encourage double dating. Double-dating is the idea of bringing along companions while you also attempt to get close to and learn about another person. Generally speaking dating is a private affair as you learn and grow together with a practical stranger. Blind Dating and Singular Dating can be awkward, uneasy, and mysterious. Double-dating seems to take the element of surprise away in the sense that you’ve now got a friend who can help you dance through the uncomfortable moments, talks, questions, and non-verbal communication. The icing on the cake for double-dating is the added benefit of being safer.
But, there’s one place where double-dating should not be allowed. That’s in prayer. We have knowingly and unknowingly brought people, things, and ideas into our private time with God. This private time, called prayer, should many times be exclusive and personal. But, often in an effort to simply check prayer time off of our itinerary, we rush into a talk (not conversation) with God, not realizing that our minds are pre-occupied and full of the stresses of yesterday, fears of tomorrow, and questions of today.
We’re thinking about what we just finished doing, what we’ve got to get done, and an entire litany of to-do’s and to-go’s. Amazingly, God has been an extremely gracious host. He’s not belittled us nor has he demeaned us coming to him.
In dating, there is a point where double-dating becomes an interruption. After you’ve gotten an idea of the person’s character, you then take the step of removing other people other people from infringing on your budding and growing relationship.
The writer of Psalm 19 invites us to help evaluate and ground his prayer time. He writes in Verse 14, “Lord, let the words of my mouth (spoken prayers), and the meditations of my heart (stuff on our mind) be acceptable in your sight…” (Italics mine). It is clear the writer here understands that what he says and what he thinks about can be two different things. Jesus understood this idea as well by encouraging people to avoid praying with, “vain repetitions…” (Matt. 6:7). Jesus goes on to add that their prayers are simply just, “much speaking…” So today, our challenge is not to just improve our prayers. Our challenge today is to rid our minds of the distractions, diversions, and disturbances that often invade the spaces of our mind while the God of creation attempts to download creative ideas, fresh thoughts, sacred reminders, wisdom for the journey, and insight on our character.
I think God is asking us to stop double-dating him in prayer. How do you address this in a practical way?
1. Take time and clear your mind before you start praying.
This may involve a time of rest, settling your mind, and worship music before you start communing with God.
2. Repent before you start your time of prayer.
The Bible shows that repentance and confession is cleansing (1 John 1:9). It’ll help you humble yourself and literally prepare all of you to walk into the presence of a BIG God.
3. Focus your prayer time more on God and less on yourself
In a consumer-driven society, we’ve become spiritual consumers always expecting something from God instead of always striving simply to be WITH God. Focusing more on God takes the pressure of getting through your own list for a few minutes.
4. Remember that prayer is a dialogue, not monologue.
Monologue is only one person speaking. But clearly prayer is a dialogue between you and God. Whatever he has to share with you is always more powerful than what we have to say to him. What we have to say to Him gets fixed by what He has to say to us.
So today, call your dating buddies – itineraries, shopping lists, emails, errands, bills, phone calls, work, chores and so on – they are no longer needed for your prayer time. From now on, it’ll be just you and Him. He’ll be so happy you did.
Verse of the Day: “Lord, let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight…” – Psalm 19:14