Many of us suffer a debilitating condition that keeps us from effective and intimate prayer. This condition is called Hypocrite Syndrome Prayer or HSP. But before you tune me out I want to tell you that every one of us faces this same challenge. We all have a very difficult time coming to God honestly and openly. It’s part of the unredeemed human condition. (Remember, Adam and Eve hid in the garden)
Somehow we have the impression that prayer is like a job interview. We try to figure out what the interviewer wants so we can get hired. So when we pray we talk to God the way we think he wants us to talk to him so we can get the answers that we’re looking for. We clean up our words, thoughts and even desires and make them “acceptable”. Good grief we wouldn’t want to offend him with what we’re really thinking or feeling! We might get fired.
I remember the day I first heard a prayer said as if he was having a conversation with a real person. Up until that day my idea of prayer was formal, clean, theologically correct and always, always proper. It was at camp and a surfer dude was praying like he was talking to another surfer dude. It blew me away!
So what makes us think that God is impressed by our measured and careful prayers? Why do we even pray like that?
I’ve been giving this some thought and I have come up with these observations from my own HSP file.
- I don’t really believe that God loves me unconditionally so I try to make myself “acceptable” to earn his love
- I’m afraid that if I am honest about how I truly feel he will reject me.
- I just don’t believe (or have never fully comprehended) the omniscience of God (i.e. He knows EVERYTHING)
The bottom line is this. I am not loved by God because I’m so good – I’m loved by God because He’s so good! My play acting righteousness will do nothing but put a barrier (of my own making) between me and experiencing his love. This is because until I tear down the façade and stand before him in all my unkempt splendor I will never truly believe he loves me for who I am – not who I should be.
The real kicker is this; the only way I will ever get to become the man I should be is when I allow his redeeming and transforming love to penetrate my hypocritical shell. The love of God is a transforming love. When we are fully exposed to it – it changes us.
So there it is fellow HSP friends. Our Father is waiting for us to come into his presence as we are so we can be transformed into something more wonderful than we can imagine. But it requires throwing away the mask – being real – and speaking plainly.
He’s been waiting for this time with you – don’t postpone the awesome!