“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” – Matthew 6:5-8
I’ve been teased for my prayers. I know they can be more than a bit long. It’s not that I think the longer I pray the more likely I’ll be heard. It’s actually the opposite. The longer I pray the more I realize my need for silence. The longer I stay in a posture of prayer the more I come to understand that before God, I need to listen and learn.
When Jesus taught about prayer he clearly wanted his followers to learn from those around them.
Hypocrites prayed to see pious. Prayer became a tool for self-aggrandizement and God became a means to an end.
Pagans prayed to satisfy a want or a need. Prayer became a tool for self-gratification and God became a means to an end.
God is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. It is for this reason that we come to God in prayer, to find ourselves at home within the vastness of love divine.
Jesus did more than tell us what to avoid in prayer, he also gave some specific directions:
- Pray with humility – Matthew 6:6
- Pray believing that God knows you and loves you – Matthew 6:8
- Pray the Lord’s Prayer – Matthew 6:9-13
Perhaps the most important detail of his instructions on prayer is the word, “when.” Jesus doesn’t say, “if” you pray. Jesus believes we will continue to pray throughout our lives. I’m convinced that the more we pray the more likely it is that we will comfortable we will become submerged in grace.
Pray in silence. Pray the Lord’s Prayer. Pray without ceasing. Pray with others. Pray for others.
Open you mind and heart in prayer.