“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites…” (Mt 6:5).
How often there is a serious gap in our prayers and platitudes between what we profess and what we possess. Prolific English author Thomas Fuller warned people like me: “How easy is pen-and-paper piety! I will not say it costs nothing, but it is far cheaper to work one’s head than one’s heart to goodness. I can write a hundred meditations sooner than subdue the least sin in my soul.” And what is the result of our petitioning the Lord for inward honesty and authenticity today? It is “that the GENUINENESS of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 1:7).
I am often haunted (and occasionally motivated) by the down-to-earth prayer of Amy Carmichael, who served the Lord at her orphanage in Dohnavur, India, for 55 years without furlough: “Lord, make me what I seem to be.”