I’d never thought about role-playing with God before and the destructive effect it can have on our prayer until I read the below translation in The Message of a familiar Bible verse from Matthew.
From the New King James:
“When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” Matthew 6:6, NKJV.
From The Message:
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace” Matthew 6:6, The Message.
How often do you role-play? Perhaps the “tough dad” acting like he’s always a rock in every storm. Or the businessman who feels pressure to look like a success to his peers. Or the mother faced with demands pulling her in 8 different directions putting on an air of “Everything is wonderful.” Most people don’t consciously try to be someone they aren’t, but it often happens. People wear hats, then act the way they think they’re supposed to act, even if it’s out of character.
But it doesn’t need to be that way with God.
When we go to God in prayer, outward show, personal knowledge or professions are irrelevant. What counts is the sincerity of our heart and our intent.
God is not interested in how many Bible verses we have memorized, how fast we can repeat spiritual truths, or how many times we say, “I’ll do anything for you if you help me.” It’s our genuine love of God and willingness to shelve pride and ego that win God’s attention and bring healing our way.
So, when entering the Secret Place of prayer, leave all the human role-playing outside the door. Go in mentally bare-naked to let God see who you really are, and then to listen to what God wants you to really know.