Buried Alive…Shouting Prayers

I was watching the news yesterday and saw a report about Danny Russu, a utility worker in Portland who was buried alive while working in a trench. His two friends, who were working with him, were able to dig down and clear the dirt away from his head so he could breath. What struck me was when the media interviewed Ryan Bird, one of the co-workers who frantically clawed through the dirt to uncover his friend. In describing Danny he says, “He is a very religious guy, and he was…” and then his voice falters as he tries to regain his composure. After a long pause he finishes his statement, “…shouting prayers.”

I sat in stunned silence when I heard that. Can you imagine? The guy who was in trouble was doing serious business with God. He was buried up to his neck, and the remaining wall of dirt could collapse at any moment. There was no need for a prayer that sounded pretty to others that might be listening. There was no thought of praying in public in such a way that it would sound spiritual. He was desperate. He was literally shouting his prayers to God.

I wonder sometimes if we have forgotten the value of being real in our relationship with God, particularly in regards to prayer. Honestly, I wonder about some of the prayers I hear spoken in public settings. Most sound nice, and they use spiritually sounding words and phrases. But sometimes they sound like they are spoken for the benefit of the people listening instead of actually talking to God. Are we are going through the motions of prayer, or are we really talking with God, the God who saves us in our moment of need? I am pretty sure Danny Russu wasn’t going through the motions. When you are buried alive, there is really no point in going through the motions.

Here’s what Christ had to say about it. “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words” (Matthew 6:7, ESV).

My friend, what are your prayers like?

For the Fox News article, click here.