The other day I experienced something I have experienced many times before but this time it had special meaning because God opened up something to me. I wonder if this has ever happened to you. Have you ever began to do something like making a phone call for example, a call you often make and when you reach in your wallet for the number you can't find it no matter how hard you try. You sit there trying to remember the number and all you can remember is the area code. Finally just before you give up you start punching in the area code and all of a sudden your finger develops a mind of it's own and dials in the rest of the number seemingly without your help. That;s called MUSCLE MEMORY.
Muscle memory is associated with motor learning, which is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When this behavior or movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort decreasing the need for attention. according to Wikipedia.
When I first read this I said to myself "this is a good thing" but God corrected me saying to me by His spirit "This is not a good thing for my people" and He began to show me churches filled with people going through empty religious ceremonies, singing empty songs and praying empty prayers. Jesus said in Mark 7:5-7King James Version (KJV)
5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Some of us have been in The Way so long, doing the same programs year after year, singing the same songs speaking the same cliche's that it doesn't take a conscious effort anymore they are on auto pilot, muscle memory. They are no longer in The Way they are in the way, potential stumbling blocks for new believers and hindrances to ministry.
It can happen so fast, I often have to catch myself, I have had to repeat prayers over two sometimes three times because I said the first one without thinking and can't even remember what I just prayed or if I prayed at all, so I pray again until I give God a proper focused prayer from my heart and not my muscle memory. Jesus said in John 4: 23+24 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
God does not want us to just go through the motions when it comes to worshiping Him. He wants spirit and truth and you can't do that on muscle memory. So when you find yourself going through the motions in church or in prayer shake it off and give God something real, Amen?
God bless you all, this is Brother Darrell, Speaking Off The Wall