Keith Green’s song, I Make My Life A Prayer to You, talks about “token prayers.” So it got me thinking about just what is a token prayer.
A token is like a substitute for the real thing. If I go to Chuckie Cheese, I give them money, and they give me tokens to play the games. Tokens are a substitute for the money – the real thing. One dictionary I used gave this definition: “Something that serves as what it is not.”
After thinking about it for awhile, I think a token prayer could be two different kinds of things. It could be the prayer that you pray when you don’t even think about the words. You just kind of go through the motions because you know you are suppose to pray but you aren’t even thinking about the idea that a prayer is talking to God. It’s more like repeating a formula.
My other thought is that it is like putting in what you are suppose to in order to get out what you want. You want something to happen or to get something and so you pray. You might even thank God for some things first but you end the prayer with the “give mes”. The “vending machine” approach to prayer. Put your token prayer in, and get your “healing” out.
Prayer is talking to God. The God of the Universe. The God that created you. The God that loves you and walks with you every day. He is worth a lot more than a “token prayer”. It should be like talking to your best friend. Talk to God honestly. It’s Ok to tell him your needs and your worries. (1 Peter 5:7) But don’t approach him with the “give mes”. Lay out your needs and pray that God would answer in a way that would be best for you. He is the only one who sees the beginning and the end. He knows what is best for you and he loves you. Trust him and believe that he will answer. Be real before him – he knows your heart any way. Real prayer will change you – from the inside out.