Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Just before Jesus prayed what has been popularly referenced as The Lord’s Prayer, he made some framing statements to his disciples that give all of us valuable guidelines for our prayers.  [And, I don’t know about you, but, I want to know how to pray effectively! I want to have, as the old hymn writer expressed it, ‘power with men and power with Thee.’] 

1.      Matthew 6:5-6, “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners…. But, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.”  In other words, make it a habit to pray in secret/ pray in private.  There is something that contributes to authenticity and genuineness in our prayers when they are offered up to God in His presence alone.  I met the son of a ‘professional’ minister a few years back who said that the only time he heard his father pray was in the context of public worship assemblies, to be seen by men.  At home, the name of God the Father, Jesus the Son and the blessed Holy Spirit were never heard in the context of spiritual counsel or personal prayer.  It was hard for this young man to get over the model he had seen of objectifying God, being inoculated with Christianity [receiving a small dose that makes you immune to the real thing].  Public prayer is good and acceptable, but it is not the prayer the Lord prefers.
2.      Matthew 6:7, “When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” In other words, pray briefly, simply, conversationally.  In fact, the model prayer that Jesus goes right into, after the statements we are now considering, can be repeated from memory in less than 30 seconds.  How many times have we overheard spoken prayers that went on and on, thoughtless of time and repetitive in content?
3.      Matthew 6:8, “When you pray…. do not be like them [pagans], for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”  In other words, pray unselfishly, unselfconsciously.  Surrender your will when you pray, do not impose it!  It is not uncommon for our prayers to be top-heavy with our petitions.  One way to break this bad prayer habit is to pray scripture back to God.  If we truly want his will to be done on earth, we should forego at least some of the “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” in favor of more of the “Praise my soul, the King of Heaven.”

Pray with me…. Our Father in heaven, your name is Holy.  We want your loving reign to come on this earth that you created.  We want you to have your way, because your way is always in our best interest.  Take care of our needs as you have faithfully done in the past.  Forgive our sins, because we have and we will forgive others when they sin against us.   And keep us safely back from temptations we cannot handle.  Be our bodyguard when the evil one tries to gain entrance into our lives.  The only eternal kingdom is yours!  You alone are all-powerful!  Your glory is present now.  It fills the earth and it will for all eternity.  Amen.

Pastor Ken

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