Bible Verse: And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name, 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 lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:5-13
Scripture Reading: Luke 11:1-4; James 4:7
The Lord’s Prayer is recorded in two of the Gospels: Matthew and Luke. In Luke’s account (Luke 11:1-4), the disciples are seen asking Jesus how to pray. Jesus responds with instructions on the motive for prayer, and then He gives us an excellent model for prayer. This was not meant to be the only prayer we would ever need to pray. Nor was it meant to be a prayer we must recite verbatim every time we pray. If that were the case, Jesus (as well as the Apostles) did not follow this rule themselves. There was a deeper purpose for this prayer.
Jesus gave us an outline for prayer that contains spiritual truths and principles needed to build an effective prayer life. Each phrase is vital to understanding every other prayer His disciples (then and now) are to pray.
Notice how Jesus distinguished authentic prayer from inauthentic. Real prayer is prayer to a real God. Real prayer is not about impressing others. Mere words do not equal access to God, and many words do not equal better access to God.
Jesus said the Father already knows what we need before we ask. That means prayer is not about simply giving God information. Prayer is about showing our faith and reliance on Him. That’s why Jesus taught us how to pray. A prayer life is about relationship, not a religious exercise.
Authentic relationships are built on clear communication. God has given us the privilege of prayer because we have a genuine relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. He invites us to communicate with Him because He wants to help us.
Getting the right motive for prayer is crucial in appreciating the Lord’s Prayer. Each time you pray, it’s an opportunity to get to know God better and submit your life to Him again. Your Heavenly Father can handle it all, so Jesus invites us to bring it all to Him in prayer.
Prayer: Father, help me to have the right motives in my prayers. I am not building a prayer life to impress others. I am thankful we have a loving relationship and that prayer is not a religious duty. My prayers are a time of submission and reliance on you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Reflection: Your Heavenly Father wants to hear from you. Jesus was sharing some inside information about why and how we pray. Prayer is not about wearing God down with our words or impressing others. Do you have a wrong concept or motive for prayer that you need to correct or repent of?
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