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Beware of becoming mechanical
- Jacob Ninan
When we are learning how to drive a car, we consciously think about when and how to use the clutch, gear, accelerator, brake, etc. But after driving around for several days we begin to operate these things mechanically, without thinking. These actions which we were very much conscious of at one time have become reflex actions for us.
The tragedy is when this happens in our spiritual life. Prayer, Bible reading, praise and worship services, fasting, intercession, and many activities connected with spiritual life can become mechanical over a period of time. Then they become meaningless and useless.
Jesus warned about meaningless repetition of prayers (Mt.6:7). He was especially talking about those who repeat a prayer a number of times thinking that the greater the number, the more effective it would be. A prayer which does not come from the heart will be useless even if it is repeated a thousand times.
Think about the number of times we can 'say grace' without thinking about or meaning what we are saying. What about repeating the Lord's prayer on different occasions? Or going through the early morning 'quiet time' without thinking about what we are reading, nor remembering later what we read in the morning? Or singing songs of praise and worship while our thoughts are wandering all around? Or praying for the millions who are getting lost in the world without a Saviour, without any feeling of sorrow in our hearts? We can think of many other examples.
These are all points in our life where we could come into direct contact with the Lord. But doing them over and over again has made them reflex actions without any touch on our heart from the Lord. The greater tragedy is when we think everything is all right because we do all these things regularly. Is it any wonder then that when we need Him at special times we find it difficult to find Him?