Your Father knows what you need before you ask.
Teachers have written great volumes and handbooks on “How to Pray.” Evidently, believers have substantial gaps in their awareness of this basic act of faith. Consuming book after book in the attempt to enlighten themselves seems a little crazy, when Jesus has made it so easy.
Many seek to emulate the prayers heard in Church, where Pastors, Elders and others (worship leaders) often slip into the error of turning prayer time into an opportunity to deliver mini-sermons. It’s a worthy thing, to have a reputation as someone people call on to make public prayers. Isn’t it?
Or is it a mistake, seeking to share in the reputation that Pastors and Elders pursue – of Churchy dignity, holiness and outward righteousness?
Public prayer carries the high responsibility of representing Sheep before God… Presuming to solicit God to supply the needs of His people while reminding Him (and us) of His promise, grace and glory.
Is there any need to add to the weight of advice already offered for private prayer? Making some notes should avoid that.
Jesus begins in the Sermon on the Mount to direct how we think about prayer. No one had ever taught on these subjects before.
Jesus taught differently than we now hear.
First. Jesus warned about public displays of righteousness.
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”Mathew 6:1
The first example he cited was charity.
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others.Mathew 6:2
His advice was simple.
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.Mathew 6:3-4
The second example, you guessed it: Prayer
“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.Mathew 6:5
Again, Jesus directs our attention to simple privacy with God.
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. ”Mathew 6:7
Notice what he says about those who seek public affirmation for being “prayer warriors.”
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”Mathew 6:8
Jesus cautions that there is something faithless about “praying not to loose.”
We ought not to be found praying against our troubles and those who trouble us. He directs us away from our expectations and disappointment into a place were we can be satisfied with the sufficiency of God’s provision. Prayer isn’t a way of commanding God’s action to satisfy our want, it is a matter of relationship – prayer is purposeful acknowledgement of God’s grace and supremacy in our walk.
“Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”Mathew 6:8
Simple privacy with God. No dark corners.
“You are who you become when no one is looking.”
“Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.Mathew 6:3 & 6:8