“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by mean. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:…”Matthew 6:5–9
Many books have been written about prayer.
But what does Jesus, the King, say about the topic of prayer?
Through seven points about prayer, it will help you review your prayer life and focus as you seek to align with the Father’s heart and mind for the things of the kingdom of God.
What is prayer and why should we pray?
Prayer is talking to God or having a conversation outside of our abilities, talents, or understanding.
We are presenting such requests to God.
My humble definition is “Prayer is an acknowledgement of our great need for God to intervene and reign in every area of our lives.”
When we pray, I acknowledge my weakness, hopelessness, and acknowledging His greatness.
I acknowledge His love, mercy, grace, and faithfulness.
I need His rule and His reign, His direction, His will, His purposes.
That is called faith and trust.
Notice the place of prayer, it is right in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount.
Kingdom initiatives must be birthed out through prayer.
A right understanding and interpretation of the Law are enabled by prayer, aligning with the heartbeat of the King.
Kingdom living is only possible through prayer.
“Prayer is an acknowledgement of our great need for God to intervene and reign in every area of our lives.”
Privacy (Presence) Not Performance
Pray is similar to giving alms, it has become a show, a performance, to demonstrate how spiritual, religious and pious one is; but God is not impressed with these hypocrites.
Their reward is the admiration of others and that is all.
There is a place for corporate, congregational, and public prayer.
Here, the point is that of personal relationship and intimacy with the Father.
God desires His children to spend time with Him, one on one, to bring their requests personally.
If you will have your secret rendezvous with God, He will reward you openly.
Jesus was one busy man with a growing ministry.
And yet, He spent time alone with His Father (Mark 1:35–37 and Luke 5:16). Jesus does what He sees the Father doing.
He hears and speaks as His Father directs.
He does only the things that please the Father, obedient unto death (John 8:28-29).
Kingdom assignments are received and executed, in and out of the presence of God, through our times of prayer and intimacy with Him.
When and where do we pray?
Have a private, and personal space, it may be in the morning, afternoon, or night.
Developing a lifestyle of prayer, of talking with God.
Personal and private times of prayer must be scheduled as a discipline.
Precision Not Platitudes Nor Pretense
And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen does. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask HimMatthew 6:7–8
“In prayer, it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart. ” John Bunyan
Avoid vain repetitions, many words; and a fixed, empty, rote repetition.
Long prayers do not mean more spirituality or more impressive (Matthew 23:14).
Do not be like the heathens, gentiles, or pagans (1 Kings 18:20ff), for it is not how long you pray, it is how you pray.
Be precise and specific.
There is no need to be colourful, flowery, or overly spiritual.
Your Father already knows what you need (not want).
Prayer & Reflection:
- When you do pray, do you pray how you fit in in His larger scheme of things?
- When you do not pray, what does it indicate then?
- Is prayer a priority in your life? Do you think you need to pray? Is prayer central? What do you pray for?