What does sincerity have to do with prayer?
Written by Pastor Jon Heeringa

I’m struck every year around this time by the word “sincere” because Linus, in “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown,” is convinced that the Great Pumpkin will come only to “the most sincere” pumpkin patch. The word “sincere” is defined as “free of deceit, hypocrisy or falseness; earnest” or alternately as “genuine; real.” With all this in mind I’ve been thinking about how sincerity impacts our prayers.

James 5:17-18 lifts up the example of Elijah when it comes to prayer. We are told that Elijah “prayed earnestly,” and as a result, it didn’t rain for three and a half years until he prayed again, at which point “the heavens gave rain.”

The words “earnest” and “sincere” are synonyms, so it seems that sincerity or earnestness greatly affect our prayers. This being the case, how do we pray more sincerely or earnestly like Elijah?

Well, looking at the story of Elijah from the last few chapters of 1 Kings, I observe a few things that make for sincere prayers. These include praying in secret, praying repeatedly and praying authentically, to name a few.

But what about you? How sincere are your prayers? Who or what do you pray for most earnestly? What is the basis of your answers to these questions? It is worth thinking – and earnestly praying – about.