Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mud Ball Prayers

"A traveler in China visited a heathen temple on a great feast day.  Many worshippers of the hideous idol were in its sacred shrine.  The visitor noticed that most of the devotees brought with them small pieces of paper on which prayers had been written or printed.  These they would wrap up in little balls of stiff mud and fling at the idol.  He asked the reason for this strange proceeding, and was told that if the mud ball stuck fast to the idol, then the prayer would assuredly be answered; but if the mud fell off, the prayer was rejected by the god."   (from The Kneeling Christian, p.5)

You may immediately be thankful that our God does not required us to throw mud balls or spit balls at some idol to test the acceptability or validity of our prayers.  Could you imagine what our churches would look like?

But don't we often struggle with the desire to have tangible evidence for our prayers --either to know that they are heard or that they have been acceptable or that we are entering into the Lord's presence with the proper motive and intentions.  Wouldn't it be nice to have an audible "ding" to know that what you have just prayed was ok and it has been "sent and received"?  Or maybe a "gong" when you prayed with some unconfessed sin in your heart (maybe you weren't even aware of it) and you need to get right with God first before you prayed?  Of course, if we were praying in a group, we would want to be sure that those sounds could only be heard by us.  How embarrassing if you were the one saying grace and were "gonged"?? Uhhh.....there might be a lot less praying if God "gonged" us.

Stop and think about this for just a moment, though.  How many times have we prayed out of a routine or habit or a mode of "check the box, that is done for today"?  Or prayed with our list and it sounded something like this "give me this, I want that, bless me Lord I pray".  Or we go to the Lord with our "shopping list prayers" know what that looks like - it is a list of things that we need, want, desire and we may have things for others on that list but it is truly a shopping list of things that we want God to do or provide for us.  We have totally missed the mark of coming to God out of a relationship with Him. how do our prayers differ from the worshippers in China who were throwing mudballs at their god?


  1. Debra,

    First, welcome back!!!

    Second, great post. It's all too often that our prayers and quiet time are "routine" and "checked" off our "to-do" list.

    God doesn't want this of us. If your quiet time is just going to be black marks on the page, I'm pretty sure that He would rather you not do it at all.

    The past few weeks I'd been in a rutt. But, I knew this was a different rutt than the ones before. I knew that I missed my intimate time with my Father and I knew I needed to fall before Him for help...thankfully, He's always there, even when we sling mud balls.

  2. Hey Christie....I have been around...kinda quiet but I have been keeping up with happenings around your place:). And I am excited for you and your hubby.

    Your comments make me remember that God pursues us....which humbles me even more.

  3. I know how busy you are right now. Thank you for taking the time to bring the blog back to life. I thought you would like this quote, " Gods acquaintance is not made in a hurry." EM Bounds. I love that we can proceed sucessfully without full understanding in prayer. God teaches us as we go along. What a great God we have !

  4. The mudball prayers break my heart. Here is a group of people desperate for hope that find themselves throwing paper. Imagine the life transformation if they transfered their passion and zeal and pursuit of holiness to the God we know. What I love about communing with the Father is that we do not have to clean up or make preparations to come to Him. He wants us, junk and all, and He changes us from the inside out. He gets to the core of who we are, reads through our agendas and our attempts to have it all together, and embraces us for who we are at this moment. Some days we can be so foolish as to be a mudball thrower ourselves with ritualistic prayers of "saying grace" before a meal or telling a friend we will pray when we don't. Yet, God is so gracious to us, forgiving and covering us with His love. When we walk with God, prayer becomes a natural continuous open dialogue of listening and talking and waiting and hoping. Prayer pushes us to transparency, obedience and faith. Our prayers are a reflection of our heart and an active part of worship with our Father. We are blessed to have such an intimate, private and public way to connect with the Lord.


  5. Debra,

    I haven't read Platt's book yet...I keep saying I need to.

    Just diving into God's word at the moment!!

    Thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement...they mean a lot!


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