TREASURES IN THE EXTRA MILE:
HOW WE SHOULD PRAY
How and why do we pray? Is prayer a means of drawing attention to ourselves as spiritual people? Is God merely to be manipulated by our personal requests, or do the motives behind our prayers matter? Jesus teaches His disciples about prayer and how it relates to life in His kingdom:
“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 men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 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. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’”
(Matt 6:5–13 NIV)
Jesus instructs His disciples to pray in a way that fastens their thoughts, hearts, and lives to God and His eternal purpose for them in this world. He begins by warning them not to pray in ways that will draw special attention to them as some men do (Matt 6:1,5). Secondly, He commands them to pray in a way that puts them before God, personally (v. 6). Thirdly, Jesus reminds them that God is not like man-made deities that pagans supposedly obligate by the words spoken in prayer (v. 7). Finally, Jesus teaches His disciples to pray to God not out of a need to give Him information (v. 8) but rather out of faith in God’s unique holiness and eternal purpose (vv. 9–13).
I pray God grows our faith in Him, as our Father in Christ Jesus, and that He guides our understanding of His purpose for us in the kingdom of the Son that He loves. I also pray that we learn to pray in ways that takes the attention off of us, and our needs, and puts it where it belongs — on God and His eternal purpose, Amen!