Jesus teaches his disciples (that includes you and me, too!) some important ways to pray, and not to pray, in Matthew Chapter 6. Let’s look at some of these teachings and consider how they apply to our lives today.
"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. –Matthew 6:5
Jesus warns us that we should check our motives relating to when and where we pray. He isn’t saying that we shouldn’t pray publicly, but when we do, not to do it with a heart to impress others with our words or actions. Prayer should always be about connecting our hearts to the heart of God.
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. – Matthew 6:6
Jesus expresses that prayer, done alone, without distraction, is a model way to pray. Quiet, intimate time, with the Father is what He desires- and Jesus wants us to experience that ongoing, deeply intimate, relationship with His Father too!
Quick reminder- prayer is about worshiping God, asking our requests of Him, thanking Him, and listening for His voice!
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. – Matthew 6:7-8
Eloquent, wordy, prayers are often done to impress others. It can be amazing, and a bit frightening, to consider how personal pride and arrogance can hinder the effectiveness of our prayers and our witness to others!
Speak simply, and make your requests known to God- even though He already knows what we need before we ask Him. We won’t impress Him with the words we use, so there’s no need to use many words. We can’t twist His arm or manipulate Him to do something, so why waste time in trying?
Let your words be few!