New Testament Journey Day 19 – Matthew 6:5-15 – Jesus Teaches About Prayer
It is within these verses we find what is most often referred to as “The Lords Prayer”. It is most likely called this because Jesus gave this to the disciples as an model for them (and us) to keep in mind as we pray. Jesus provided a pattern to be imitated as well as duplicated. We should praise God, pray for his work in this world, pray for our daily needs, and pray for help in our daily struggles.
Jesus was giving the disciples this model, because the religious leaders of that day were often wanting to be seen as “holy”, and public prayer was one way to get attention. Jesus saw through their self-righteous acts. There is a time and place for public prayer, but to pray only to be seen and heard by others indicates your real audience is not God. The point wasn’t really a choice between public and private prayer – which some have taken out of context. It was instead a choice between heartfelt prayer and hypocritical prayer. Many were repeating the same words over and over again like a magic incantation. This is not the way to get God to hear your prayers. It’s not wrong to come to God many times with the same request – Jesus encourages persistent prayer. But he condemns shallow repetition of words without a sincere heart. We can never pray too much when they are honest and sincere.
I took much of the commentary above from my study bible. But as I read the scripture, as I read the commentary, it hit me – hard – this was Jesus telling the disciples what He’s still telling us today. Relationship not religion. It’s about a pure, intimate relationship with God. Seeing Him as our creator and Father. Our provider and healer.
Prayer is powerful. The bible is full, and I mean full – like 4 or 5 type written pages full of verses about the power of prayer. And I think of this picture of Jesus.. if Jesus prayed, what makes us think we wouldn’t have to? We need to be praying daily. Praying for this country. Praying for our children and grandchildren. Praying for God to revel Himself to us in a mighty way and allow our hearts to become hearts like Jesus.
How about you? When was the last time you got alone and earnestly prayed? If it’s been awhile, today is a good day to start. The devil knows there’s power in prayer -that’s why he tries to keep us so distracted that we don’t make time. Give him a black eye today – and spend time in prayer!