Pray Then Like This
Matthew 6:5-15 (CSB) “Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward. But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble like the Gentiles, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask him.
“Therefore, you should pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
“For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your offenses.
How not to pray
Don’t pray to get attention
And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
It does not matter how eloquent or loud or wordy your prayers might be. They are your words to God’s ears. Think about that.
If you did pray in public (blessing over a meal or praying for healing or ending a meeting) what would it look like for you to use simple phrases? Jesus did it. Why couldn’t we do the same? Don’t be afraid of what others might think about you.
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
This is between you and God. This is a precious, private time between you and the Creator of the Universe.
Go and examine the Gospels. Notice how many times does Jesus have to get away, escape, and departed to be himself. We know what he was doing. Christ was praying and speaking with the Father. Don’t you think that if you had the perfect relationship with another person for all of your life and all of sudden, you had to go away and be apart from them for about 30 years. How much would you miss them? Jesus, who was in perfect relationship and communion with the Father, missed his Father terribly. Christ desperately tried to balance between ministry and his prayer life. I know that not one person in here, myself include, wrestle between prayer and ministry. Yet, prayer is the heaviest lifting.
do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words
Look at what Jesus is saying. He is not referring to Gentiles in the sense of non-Jews but rather, unbelievers. In other words, Jesus says the prayers of the unbeliever are empty. They are void. They are without meaning.
In complete contrast to the empty prayers of the unrighteous, what we are going to read later on in the series, is that both Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit intercede with our prayers and intercede for us, according to the will of the Father.
Romans 8:26-27 (CSB) In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Romans 8:34 (CSB) Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the one who died, but even more, has been raised; he also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.
Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him
We do not have to beg God for what we need. He is God. He alone knows the depths of our hearts, our minds, and our circumstances. He is our good Father in heaven. All we must do is simply ask and he will provide what is good for us.
In this series, I want you to write down and pray prayers based on what you have learned to today.