Key Text: Matthew 6:5-15
We all need to be decisively determined to pray with confidence. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time, Hebrews 4:16. If we lack confidence to pray, it is probably because of a lack of discipleship to the prayers of Jesus. Matthew 6:5-15, is one of the best passages to start working on to develop our lifestyle of prayer. After all, if we feel spiritually powerless, it may likely be that we are faithless in our prayer, or absent of prayer altogether. One of the greatest needs of Christians is to be devoted to prayer, Colossians 4:2. We indeed may be ignorant about what answer to expect and what exactly to ask for, but we should not be ignorant about the need and act of prayer itself, Romans 8:26. We should be determined to ask, as the disciples asked, “Lord teach us to pray”, Luke 11:1. The person who does not pray, is really no better off than Christians who do not know how to pray. Having some kind of method or discipline of prayer, is better than having none!
Jesus gave us a starting place in Matthew 6:5-15. Notice the brevity of this prayer, Matthew’s account gives 64 words, and Luke’s account gives us 37 words. Firstly we learn that whatever method of prayer we use, it should be straight to the point and understood. If we don’t really know why we are saying what we are saying, we will either quit, or keep going aimlessly. The religiously pious people Jesus saw and derided, were on street corners getting rewarded for their prayers from men, Mt. 6:5, so obviously our method of prayer should not reflect an outward appearance, but rather we should be praying in such a way, that reflects an inward humility and sincerity. Do we search in our prayers, to be rewarded by God, and not men? Hebrews 11:6. This an obvious goal in prayer. Mt. 6:9 is filled with reverence because of the holiness of God the Father, which Jesus wanted to impress upon his disciples, Lev. 19:2 & Isa. 6:3. His name represents His power, and without God’s strength, we are helpless to live holy lives. This address in verse 9, is a type of praise, and helps us keep our hearts open for his strength.
Jesus prayed publicly, and also taught his disciples to pray privately. The place of prayer isn’t real important to God, it’s the attitude that counts. Jesus prayed at his baptism, (Lk. 3:21), before crowds (Lk. 9:16) and on the cross (Lk. 23:34), but also privately on the mount being transfigured, (Lk. 9:28) and in the garden of Gethsemane (Mt. 26:39-44), and all night before selecting his twelve apostles (Lk. 6:12). Therefore he didn’t condemn praying for a long time, what he condemned was the meaningless repetition. If we follow His example, our private prayers should be longer, and our public prayers should be short. But the effect will be lasting on and on…