February 19, 2021 | Matthew 6:5-8
Dear Redeemer friends,
“I wish I could just get hooked up to a prayer IV”, I shared with my friend recently. We were lamenting the exhaustion and humility needed to continue to turn to the Lord again and again in our need. We acknowledged that a “prayer IV” might be easiest but would probably miss the point of prayer. Indeed the scriptures tell us, “your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Hence, the goal is not to just get the “info” to Him.
First, Jesus declares, “when you pray…”. That’s our first cue. We are to pray. The Lord wants to hear from us. He wants a relationship with us. Praying is the interaction in our relationship. Thus he challenges us that our praying is not to be about how we look to others. “5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others.“ We would not meet for coffee with a friend, sit by a window with them, and then “talk” loudly so everyone knows we are with them. If we were there to truly be with them we would look into their eyes, listen, and share with them. By doing this and setting aside space and time- our reward is the Lord Himself- rich, glorious time, with the King of the Universe, and our Father who loves us.
Jesus also encourages us that prayer does not work like a slot machine- our chances of being heard- do not increase with the number of words, “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.” The Lord has already done everything to make possible that we could come to Him. Jesus was on earth for that purpose. He would live, die and rise again so that we could have communion with the Lord forever. Our many words do not convince Him of our plight. He already knows. And He already cares way more than we could imagine.
So, what do we do? Go hang out with the Lord! Set some time apart. Find a quiet place- like you would if you were meeting with a friend and wanted to really hear them. Don’t worry about your words- or wonder if you are asking the right way or are fervent enough, just enjoy Him, for He already knows what’s on your mind but will love your coming to Him with it.
We will walk through the teaching of the Lord’s prayer together these next several weeks on Sunday mornings. Let’s hear from the One who made us, let’s ask Him alongside the disciples to “Teach us to Pray”. Let’s worship Him together!
Director of Care and Connection
Matthew 6:5-8 ESV
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.